Confusion when someone buys the better domain.
Workforce Software provides workforce management software using the domain name WorkforceSoftware.com.
For decades, the shorter Workforce.com domain was used by Workforce Magazine to deliver human resources news.
But last year, a competitor to Workforce Software acquired the publisher of Workforce Magazine. It then changed the use of Workforce.com from human resources news to promoting its own workforce management software, rebranded as Workforce.com.
Suddenly, Workforce Software had a big problem: confusion.
It didn’t have the best domain for its business, and now a competitor was using the best domain.
Workforce Software filed a cybersquatting complaint under UDRP against Workforce.com and lost.
The confusion is real. For about a minute while researching this case, I wondered if Workforce Software had acquired Workforce.com at the last minute. Take a look at their logos in the image. They both have lowercase logos with a blue icon in them. The icons are fairly similar but flipped.
This is not a case of cybersquatting, though. It’s another example of not owning the best domain for your company and having it come back to haunt you.
I usually tell people that if the better domain is currently in use in a non-confusing way, you’ll be OK registering the second-best domain. I urge caution when the best domain is just a parked page that might be sold to someone else.
But in this case, even though Workforce.com was being used in a non-infringing way, it was sold.
It reminds me of a similar issue a friend ran into. He registered a domain in the form exampleSoftware .com, just like this domain. Then someone bought example .com to market a sex toy. His friends called him up, saying they didn’t realize he had gotten into that business.
It will be interesting to see if Workforce Software takes this issue to the courts. While it’s not cybersquatting under UDRP, there might be a trademark issue. Then again, Workforce is a very generic word to use as a brand for workforce management software.
Will be hard to convince the courts of any wrongdoing since people use the word/term workforce all the time….pure generic.
Observer -> LaughingBoy says
“Workforce” is 100% generic. Workforce Software might as well rebrand at this point. They LOST
Yeah, it was super dumb for them to think this could have been resolved on the cheap with a $1,500 UDRP.
Laughing my ass off!
Maybe Worforce software is in trouble. Either buy the Workforce.com business from competitor or rebrand. Teachable moment indeed…
Brian Chiyama says
I have a similar situation waiting to happen. I own the name http://www.womany.com. Way after I had owned this name a social networking company was established on http://www.womany.net. I am receiving offers for this domain name and some from competitors. I have used this name in commerce on experimental projects. I am not in a hurry to sell until I get what I believe to be a reasonable offer. So these things really happen. Would appreciate any advice on how to handle this Andrew if you don’t mind.
Hey Brian…so you think your situation is on the same level as Workforce.com? Are you serious right now??
Clearly you are new to this business and you just embarrassed yourself with this comparison.
Everyone here is laughing at you.
Brian Chiyama says
Not at all. I am talking of the principle. I was approached by another company which wanted to buy Womany. Com. If I had agreed the sale this could have affected Womany. net. The risk still remains because they are talking of expansion into other countries but they are sitting on the. NET and I am on the . COM. They have been in contact with me and so has other interested parties.
I see three options: rebrand, buy competitors name, or claim trademark infringement (too expensive and unlikely to get anywhere). I might attempt to negotiate a price for the name (you never know), otherwise get something proper from the outset.
Some startups unfortunately assume they can upgrade down the line. I own a generic one-word only used for email, with a product in slow but steady development for a few years. There are new and established brands around the world that will be disappointed when they seem unable to acquire the name at any price.
Super interesting situation. Looks like the company now operating on workforce.com, was called Tanda, and had been using the URL Tanda.co (which still resolves).