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Barbara Kingsolver Wins Domain Fight, Loser Not Happy

Loser in arbitration case makes his case — publicly.

Author Barbara Kingsolver has won a case at National Arbitration Forum for the domain name Kingsolver.com. The soon-to-be-former owner of the domain name is none too pleased.

He has posted a tirade about the case at Kingsolver.com (warning: explicit), which will exist until his registrar has to hand the domain name over to Kingsolver on April 29.

Kingsolver’s agent forgot to renew the domain name and it was later auctioned on NameJet. The buyer sold it to the current owner of the domain, who was then hit with the UDRP.

The owner says he bought it for his computer company, and that he had never heard of Barbara Kingsolver before the complaint:

I have NEVER in my life heard about this person, I swear on my children. I asked many of my friends last week (many of them are from the USA) and they never heard about this person either.

Unfortunately, the owner had yet to change the nameservers on the domain name after purchasing it, so it still resolved to a parked page showing ads related to Kingsolver’s books.

Panelist John J. Upchurch found in Kingsolver’s favor, and ordered the domain transferred.

It would be unusual for a well known person to convince a panel that they have a trademark in their last name. As the owner points out in his tirade, Tom Cruise wouldn’t be able to win Cruise.com and Julia Roberts wouldn’t win Roberts.com. I suspect what happened in this case was that Kingsolver’s prior ownership of the domain played a role in the panelist’s decision. The parked page didn’t help, even though the owner had a legitimate excuse for it.

This isn’t the first time Kingsolver has used UDRP to get a domain name. In 2001 she won an arbitration for BarbaraKingsolver.com.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

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  1. Josh says

    Ill never read another one of her books!

    On a more serious note however it shows that ignorance MAY cost you, change those servers if you have a legit use 😉

  2. Claude says

    Sorry, but even as a domainer, I think it belongs and should belong to her.

    By the way, she is a great writer.

  3. Marcus says

    I believe this is unfair as well. He should be able to keep the domain.

    If he proved that the nameservers were pointed to a site that he didn’t even benefit from, I don’t see how he did anything wrong.

  4. JR says

    Old Ugly C… LMFAO!

    Privacy..
    Appears no working email..
    Parking Page…

    These things lead into wins when the domain likely would not have been won otherwise.

  5. Zeek Domains says

    If you forget to pay your mortgage and loose your property in a foreclosure sale. All you have to do is contact the Panelist John J. Upchurch and he will get your house back…

  6. JR says

    @Paul

    “Then they explained it to me and recommended to change whois to some working mail address and change DNS which I agreed with. ”

    I took “working mail address” as Email.

  7. jon says

    Wow, I just read the whole claim that was filed!. Looks like she didn’t even have the name “kingslover” federally trademarked!. Her claim was that she was using the name since 1998 and claimed common law rights….So could I claim common law rights for the domain blonde (dot) com since I love using the word blonde?…

    This was the wrong decision….

  8. regular reader says

    Unfortunately, the domain owner represented himself which worked against him.

    If he had hired an IP lawyer it would had cost him but the odds would have been in his favor.

  9. Ms Domainer says

    *

    Obviously, many domainers don’t read fiction. Barbara Kingsolver is a best selling novelist, her most famous book THE POISONWOOD BIBLE.

    Having said this, I think this was a wrong decision. Writers should not depend on their busy agents to renew their domain names–that is NOT a literary agent function. Anyone can manage his or her own domain names, even a rich and spoiled best-selling novelist. How many of us change our name servers right away after acquiring a name?

    It looks as though domainers have yet another worry to add to our bag of worries: make sure that our construction and parking pages don’t infringe–very difficult to do, given that places like Sedo decide for you, no matter what keywords you set.

    Grrr.

    *

  10. Paul says

    I wanted to change it but since it has been already cited on some blogs it would be unfair to those blog writers.

  11. Dan says

    Never heard of her.

    So this woman wasn’t satisfied with having BarbaraKingsolver.com? That domain wasn’t enough for her?

    Absurd decision.

  12. Bill Sweetman says

    @Paul,

    This was a horrible UDRP decision. Please contact me – bill(at)yummynames.com – and I will try to find you a replacement domain name for your business at no charge.

  13. Steve M says

    … and one of the “weird” things is that if Paul’d had his tirade posted instead of a parked page … and he’d had a 3-person panel … he might have won.

    Consider Bill’s kind offer, Paul.

    We who deal in domains can tell you that there are likely at least a small handful of sub-$250 domains; possibly even some hand registrations for under $30; that are actually better dot-coms for you/your biz.

  14. bernard says

    Check Archive.org
    Check Wikipedia.org

    This woman has had this website since 1996 or so.

    This bitter guy is just too stupid! He should have immediatly proposed the domain back and tried to get most of what he paid, that money eventually ended in lawyers pockets

  15. YeaSure32 says

    So let’s see… Mr struggling family man computer professional wants to promote his computer consulting business. So, he spends what wikipedia estimates is about 4 months salary in China for a domain name, and by some unusual arrangement it also comes with its previous web site and apparently its previous hosting, which by some odd coincidence happens to be selling books by an American author that Mr struggling family man and some of his friends has never heard of. Although he is a computer expert and has spent a small Chinese fortune on the domain, he doesn’t get around to changing the web site to say “future site of Mr Pauls computer consulting Co” but rather just continues to let the selling-the-authors-books site stay up, which apparently the previous owner who built the site, and the previous web hosting company don’t seem to mind. Wikipedia explains that the ICAAN complaints and decisions are about “bad faith” use of domains, and not about ownership of a domain. In other words, owning “cruise.com” isn’t an issue, unless the owner is selling Tom Cruise DVDs on the site, at which point it is a clear bad faith use of the domain name.
    Bill, don’t expect this guy to follow up on your offer to find him a legitimate domain for his business. There’s nothing legitimate about this guy or his fictional business. He is a cyber-squatter and name-jacker, plain and simple. Now that he has international attention, if he did have any legitimate business, he’d be trying to use the attention to promote it. Instead, he’s just being a cyber-loudmouth.

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