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Surprise: Domain Registrant Not Responsible for Registrars’ Parked Page

UDRP panelist uses some common sense.

UDRP complainants frequently point to the content of registrar holding pages as evidence that a domain name registrant registered the domain name in bad faith. It’s a convenient argument that takes advantage of most panelists’ misunderstanding of parked domain names vs. holding pages.

Consider a recent case where Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company argued that the registrant of FiremansFundBlog.com registered the domain name in bad faith because the domain was parked with competitive ads.

Indeed, the parked page does show lots of competitors:

But there’s a distinction between this page, which was placed at the domain name by Go Daddy and not the registrant, and a parked page set up by the registrant. Most panelists overlook this, but not Paul M. DeCicco.

In his decision finding in favor of the respondent, DeCicco notes:

The at-issue domain name’s registrar’s business practice is to set all new domain name registration records to initially resolve to a registrar (Go-Daddy) controlled holding page featuring advertising related to the domain name. The record remains this way until the registrant redirects the domain name’s DNS record elsewhere. The existence and content of such holding pages is thus not the result of the domain name registrant’s intent…It is thus Go-Daddy not the Respondent that receives any benefit from the complained of holding page.

(I should point out that most of the time when a registrar landing page is at issue in a UDRP, the registrant is not a cybersquatter. A true cybersquatter would have parked the domain name somewhere else to earn money.)

DeCicco points out that many other panels have found otherwise, but makes a great argument as to why the registrar parking page should not be used against the domain name owner:

The results of a UDRP proceeding should not hang on happenstance. Decisions should not vary simply because a particular registrar links new registrations to a holding page that happens to contain links that might offend Complainant, while another registrar puts up only a benign ‘under construction’ notice as a holding page or fails to resolve the domain name at all until the registrant specifies how so.

Amen, Mr. DeCicco.

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  1. Leonard Britt says

    While the UDRP panel ruled in favor of the registrant in this case, perhaps it would be safer to forward the domain to a domain sales website. Perhaps not? I suppose a domain lawyer could opine here.

  2. John Berryhill says

    Wow. That is a remarkable demonstration of “it getting” by Mr. DeCicco.

    An important consideration in this sort of case would be how long has the domain name been registered. While people do reserve domain names with the idea that “I’ll get around to it someday”, most UDRP panelists will become more suspicious of that intent with the passage of time.

  3. Ramiro Canales says

    This is a great decision! The focus is on who benefits from the parking and not the mere display of a competitor’s ads. Of course, some panelists have held that registrants are ultimately responsible for the content of the parking pages regardless of whether they received fees or not.

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