Featured Domains

register.to

Goodwill Non-Profit Sues to Get Goodwill.com Domain Name

Charity sues company that bought domain name for $55,000 in NameJet domain name auction.

GoodwillNon-profit Goodwill Industries International has sued the owner of Goodwill.com for alleged trademark infringement. The lawsuit (pdf) names Cyber2Media, Inc., the owner of the domain, and Oversee.net, which briefly monetized the domain on its DomainSponsor platform, as defendants.

For years, the domain name Goodwill.com was used by Goodwill Group, Inc., a Japanese staffing company. Goodwill Industries notes that it didn’t believe Goodwill Group was using the domain in bad faith. But then Goodwill Group changed its name and let the domain name expire.

Domain name registrar Network Solutions sent the domain name to an expired domain auction earlier this month on NameJet. Goodwill Industries contacted Network Solutions to try to stop the auction from taking place, but was unsuccessful. The winning bid was $55,000. (DNJournal reports the winning bid in this week’s sales report as $55,978.)

After winning the auction, the lawsuit alleges that Cyber2Media parked the domain name with links related to charitable giving. Goodwill Industries claims this has caused severe damage since December is a busy month for charitable giving.

The domain was originally parked at DomainSponsor, but is now parked with an eNom service.

Goodwill Industries claims trademark infringement, unfair competition, violation of the anti-cybersquatting protection act, interference with prospective economic advantage, and unjust enrichment. Goodwill is seeking transfer of the domain name and economic damages.

Dynadot Expired Auctions. Now offering installment payments. View auctions.

Get Our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest analysis and news about the domain name industry by joining our mailing list.


No spam, unsubscribe anytime.

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Comment

  1. jp

    Severe damage? More severe than if the Japanese staffing company was still operating it?

    I wonder what was the RPC on “charitable giving”. Honestly how much could that pay per click. That’s messed up IMHO if these types of terms are high cpc.

  2. Chip Meade

    That High a ticket item needs to be handled with care. No parking! Great generic name. One of the positive things is that Goodwill Industries knew it was in auction and did not buy it AND the fact that they knew the previous owners were not infringing. Will be tricky. Might be an expensive lesson for Cyber2Media, Inc

    • Andrew Allemann

      Here are two questions I have:

      1. Why didn’t Goodwill contact the Japanese staffing company about acquiring the domain name? Possible answer: they didn’t get their act together

      2. Wouldn’t buying the domain in auction have been cheaper than a lawsuit? Possible answer: maybe the lawyers are working pro bono

  3. Michael

    Seems like pretty obvious TM infringement to me. JP, I don’t get how you could suggest the damages are not severe.

    If someone goes to Goodwill.com to make a donation and sees a Japanese staffing company, they know they are in the wrong place and will eventually find Goodwill.org. If they go to Goodwill.com and see links to places where they can make a donation, they likely won’t end up donating to Goodwill Industries.

    I think that is an enormous mistake by Cyber2Media, and that they will likely lose the domain (and they probably should). We don’t know if this was an oversight or intentional, but they should be smarter with an asset they spent $56k on.

  4. jp

    @Andrew

    I get that, but still, Extreme Damage? To who Goodwill? Maybe I don’t get how this model works but I imagine they are talking about some donations may have gotten misdirected to another competitor who got to sell those donations to someone in need rather than goodwell getting to profit off of someone’s misfortune.

    Consider the interesting possibility of a Robin Hood scenario. What if the sponsored links that misdirected Goodwill’s customers sent donations to a real charity, that actually reapproriated the donations to people without charging the recipients of the donated items. That would certainly make me contest the Goodwill of the company “Goodwill” for contesting such a thing.

  5. jp

    @Michael,

    I do agree it was a big mistake on Cyber2Media’s part. I certainly would never have done that.

    I think I’m just overreacting to Goodwill’s overreaction. They couldn’t just start with a UDRP? I wonder if they even called Cyber2Media first. It all seems to have happened pretty fast, maybe since it was so “severe”, I don’t know. I expect more decorum out of organizations that are supposed to be “Good”. Who knows, maybe they did call Cyber and they were totally rude to Goodwill and this is the reaction.

    Compete.com says about 30k uniques to Goodwill.com for November, I wonder what percentage of them were looking for the Japanese staffing vs Goodwill? 30k is alot of uniques for sure.

    Actually, just checked Alexa and they say 91% of the traffic is US, so as long as that Japanese staffic company had nothing to do with the US, then I think I answered my 1st question.

  6. jorge

    Some thoughts:

    Good Will is a noun in the dictionary. It’s a business term.

    First of all, a quick search shows there are over a 100 TM’s registered with the word GoodWill in it. Any of those folks could jump into the fray and try to lay claim, too.

    Or, the current owner could sell it to one of them, like “GoodWill Plumbing”, “GoodWill Games”, etc.

    Should be an interesting case.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Jorge – true, if it hadn’t been monetized with links to charitable giving. That’s what makes the case for Goodwill. No links = weak case.

      @ JP – I don’t know how extreme the damage is. But it is a high traffic domain. They may be overstating that part of the case. Who knows…maybe they really just want the domain name.

  7. Steve M

    “Goodwill” just became an oxymoron.

    Though had it been me I’d have targeted it to business, intellectual property, etc; some PPC related ads does not entitle them to this generic .com.

    GI will lose this case. Just a shame it’s going to cost Cyber2Media so much wasted money to enforce their rights.

    And that’s the end of contributions of any type to GI.

    Hope other domain owners will do the same.

  8. Bart

    No surprise to see slimy -Oversee.net in the mess. Even before their Chesterton Holdings, Jucco Holdings and all the other holdings companies they have, they just seem to be a real domain sleeze company. Cyber2Media deserves to give up this domain to Goodwill and I hope it happens.

  9. Cartoonz

    The same company dropped goodwill.net a year ago and it has been monetized ever since with better crafted KW’s.

    I don’t see that domain in any lawsuits.
    Poor choice by Cyber2Media.

  10. Lou

    How completely unaware must Goodwill staffing have been to simply let a $50,000 + domain expire. They were smart enough to get the domain in the first place, but then just let it drop. Amazing…

  11. Domain Investor

    Netsol and Enom should send a fruit-basket to the Japanese company for letting the .com and .net expire.

    I don’t know if Goodwill Int’l was in the auction. I looked at the list of 105 bidders and nothing jumped out at me.

    Since, they knew well in advance of the auction, I’m sure they were on the list of bidders. Just don’t know if they actually bid.

    It was mostly domainers bidding.

    Many of the major bidders were on the list but did not bid above $ 69.
    Like – Ammar, Strong, bonkers, vertical, ecorp.
    I didn’t see Frank Schilling on the list.

  12. Snoopy

    “I wonder what was the RPC on “charitable giving”. Honestly how much could that pay per click. That’s messed up IMHO if these types of terms are high cpc.”

    //////////////

    $4.59 according to adwords, not sure why it would be surprising or “messed up” that this would be a high value term.

  13. Josh

    Its a clear case of ignorance and pride.

    Good for Goodwill, hope they win and send a small lesson to people like this…

    @AndrewAellmann, did the buyer park it and infringe because he is ignorant or greedy? Possible answer, both! I bet he assumed because it was a charity he would be safe. That and he has to make up for paying $55k for something only people want to visit to give clothes away to lol

  14. Domain Investor

    WRONG. There are many, many people that visit Goodwill.com looking for something other than Goodwill Int’l.

    Probably LESS THAN 5% of the world population has ever heard of Goodwill Industries.

    Visitors to Goodwill.org by Country:
    United States 95.6%
    India 1.3%
    Canada 0.6%

    I suspect that Goodwill corporate is jealous of its Calif. chapter that runs ShopGoodwill.com

    Daniel made a mistake or maybe someone that works for him.

    Josh – you sound like a domainer hater or Goodwill Int’l lawyer or both.

    Isn’t it ironic that Goodwill Int’l is willing to spend upward of $100K in legal fees but didn’t want to bid on the domain?

    Charities do great things for people but isn’t that what .org is for?

  15. Lee H.

    That’s just sad, the registrars auction the domain off, display whatever ads for which they collect revenue, then sell the domain for pure net. To top it off the new registrant bought what is seemingly a generic domain name.

    Regardless of the legalities it just really sucks for the registrant on this one, i really don’t see this one in bad faith.

  16. Josh

    ” Josh – you sound like a domainer hater or Goodwill Int’l lawyer or both. ”

    @Domain Investor, yes I hate domainers and am a lawyer.

    With that aside though I think YOU are wrong, and if only 5% of 95.6% of visitors are aware that goodwill is a charities name Ill eat my hat..my big brimmed lawyer, domain hater hat. It’s common sense and what visitors want, justbeause you own a generic name does not mean you can change a several decade old name recognition from happening. You cabn own it, defend it and should win but ONLY if you were not greedy or ignorant of the potential risk of infringing, something this owner was.

  17. Steve M

    Gosh Josh.

    As you just proved once again, “common sense” isn’t so common after all.

    You’re obviously not an IP attorney.

  18. Josh

    lol, youre right my last post made no sense at all, using genericterms to infringe is ok and most of thoise 95% of US visitors are not arware of a charity called Goddwill :rollseyes:

  19. Josh

    I just noticed how much common sense you have Steve..

    ” And that’s the end of contributions of any type to GI.

    Hope other domain owners will do the same.

    Thats right stop giving to the less fortunate because a board decided to go after a guy who was infringing on their mark, ya that is common sense. Youre a joke and a half Steve, get a job.

  20. Steve M

    “Thats right stop giving to the less fortunate…”

    Last time I checked, Josh, there’s of course no lack of worthwhile organizations helping the less fortunate…yet that also don’t try to steal the property of others; as Goodwill is attempting to do here.

    Then again, common sense would have told anyone; even you; that.

  21. Josh

    So your outlook is Goodwill is stealing or jacking the name, the possiblity the owner of the name infringed on their mark and profited from their ” name ” should not result in losing it, come on. Im all for domainers winning battles but I don’t live in denial.

  22. Lee H.

    @josh

    Here’s a wrench in your argument. If the owner was willing to give the name to Goodwill Inc. for the $55k he plunked down, not making any profit, would that be a fair resolution?

  23. Josh

    It would only be a fair resolution imo if it did not exceed the price they would pay(should the complaints be factual) to persue it via the courts or complaint process.

    Now it isn’t as easy as this as the complaint machine and lawyers are in motion likely before such an offer would ever be an option and therefore costs would already have been incurred. Also I understand that sensable decisions are not the ones most commonly made and I suspect they would persue even if the cost exceeded a settlement, this is not a suprise. However is it possible they are not paying a dime for legal counsel and perhaps it was donated?

  24. Josh

    Also Lee, I am not ignoring the potential fact the name was used to infringe on their mark and no further monetary damage should be awarded. I know for a fact that in most all cases a simple transfer of ownership is sufficient. Therefore if I were GI I would try to settle for less than the full $55k stating the defendant is fortunate to receive anything considering the circumstances.

  25. Cworld

    Interesting that GW wants to sue for the stated reasons, i.e. unfair competition, interference with prospective economic advantage, and unjust enrichment because that is exactly what GW does to the people who have been shopping at GW and reselling for a living. GW has changed it’s policy to sell “valuable” items to the highest bidder online. They do not pay for their “products” so that is unjust enrichment and interference with prospective economic advantage too.

Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News
%d bloggers like this: