This is what happens when you create a popular web site on something other than .com.
You should never start a mainstream web site on a .net domain. Or .org, .biz, .info, etc.
Unless you own the .com of the same name. Especially if the domain name you choose is generic. Unless you don’t care about losing traffic to the .com.
OK, so why the rant?
I just finished reading a UDRP case brought by First Showing, LLC, which owns FirstShowing.net.
FirstShowing.net has quite a following. Compete.com suggests it receives over 200,000 uniques a month.
But it’s a dot net.
So the owner wanted to get FirstShowing.com and filed a UDRP to do so. The .com was acquired by the respondent after FirstShowing.net was launched.
But this case would be very, very hard for First Showing, LLC to win. As a generic term with meaning, someone can rightfully own FirstShowing.com and use it for a similar purpose as FirstShowing.net. There would have to be evidence that First Showing had received some sort of acquired distinctiveness.
Had the domain been something not specifically about movies — such as AlsCoolSite.net — then it might have a claim if the owner of AlsCoolSite.com starts showing movie listings.
In this case, the owner of FirstShowing.net emailed the .com owner about buying the domain. Perhaps unhappy with the price, First Showing LLC filed the UDRP complaint.
The panel denied the complainant’s request, saying the domain wasn’t registered and used in bad faith. The complainant failed to show that it had common law rights in FirstShowing.net at the time the .com was registered. (Even if it had, I would hope the complainant would be required to show common law rights in First Showing, not FirstShowing.net.)
Attorney Brett Lewis represented the respondent.