DomainGang is Wrong About They are Not Even Close to the Worst Trademark Enforcer

Jun 22 2012

DomainGang wrote what I consider avery scandalous article about tonight that I found a bit offending and one sided and I felt it necessary to point a few things.  Here was the article

Ever since it changed its policies, Australian Domain marketplace, Flippa, has taken measures to disallow and remove trademark violations.

The new king of obvious domain violations is now 4.CN – a Chinese auction web site that clearly shows the state of lawless anarchy in China, regarding intellectual property.

For example, more than 90 “facebook” domains are being listed on 4.CN; some even have offers!

Let’s not even start with the number of“iPhone” domains listed for sale on 4.CN: an astounding 396 domains!

We also found 157 “Microsoft” domains listed for sale!

It’s a shame that 4.CN is openly allowing its members to pirate trademarks on its marketplace.

Domainers are advised to stay clear from such troublesome domain platforms.

I am defending in this case for a variety of reasons.  Yes they are my sponsor and have been very good to me.  I call many of the people in their company my friends and I am very impressed how their company is growing and the progress they are making.  Two, I feel that Namejet, Flippa, and have all been called out but they are no different than any auction house and all three are actually better than many.

By no means am I making light of trademark enforcement.  There are reasons we have legal enforcement of trademarks around the world.   Companies like MarkMonitor are paid millions of dollars to enforce trademarks of thousands of the largest companies in the world.  The parking companies and auction houses have a very difficult task of policing the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of domains under their account.  It’s not as simple as writing a program and having it check and cull out domains that infringing.  In order to do it correctly it has to be a combination of manual and computer. That combined with the companies themselves asking to have them removed.  A bigger question for another post would be why does Apple and Markmonitor allow any of these domains to be parked or on the auction platforms? Isn’t that one of Markmonitor’s jobs?    Oh yeah,  the same reason they show up on most platforms, it’s nearly impossible to take them all down. It takes more hours and money than it saves.  It’s probably the reason Apple doesn’t send an email or letter concerning every iPhone name on a parking platform.

So lets get back to the article.  DomainGang crowns the new king but they are not even close to the worst.  I hate to even name the worst because I think highly of them as well but it’s Sedo.  They have a lot more of the names listed above

Facebook domains  …….425

iPhone domains …….8600

Microsoft……they police this one…..only a few

So they are probably the king if defined by numbers but I personally don’t think of them as wrong doers, nor would I ever ask people to stay away as suggested by DomainGang.  I don’t think any of these companies take trademarks for granted and I’m sure they all take offense with the suggestion that they should be avoided.  There is nothing wrong with calling out our industry as a whole but to pick on individual companies to me seems a bit personalized rather than rationalized……but maybe its just me.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Richard

    There is nothing in this domain industry that makes me more angry than this obsession with trademarks and so called ‘intellectual property’. The very concept of which in terms of domains is used to steal domains and allow big players to shut down the little man.
    My biggest gripe over this is generic english words. The biggest of which being ‘Apple’
    I mean how dare they think they have any rights over this word that has been used for hundreds of years before computers existed.
    We live in a crazy capitalist world right now and this whole business of intellectual property is having a profound knock on effect in regards to our basic online freedoms.
    Online freedoms should ALWAYS come first and this should be non-negotiable.

  2. Nick

    So, what I understand that has absolutely no responsibility as it’s somebody’s job not their.

    If that’s the case, you are wrong. They are equally liable if they have knowledge of what is going on.

    Whether they are the prince and not the king (as you claim Sedo is), it does not absolve them.

    1. Post author


      I completely agree. Everyone is responsible for holding the law of trademarks. I am merely saying that calling out certain companies as worse than others is misguided. The top sites in our industries are also the ones with the most trademark infringing names. It is an industry problem. Many of our top domain investors in this industry have portfolios full of trademark issues. Again, I never said that these companies have no responsibility. I am saying its a very tough task to police worldwide trademarks in an auction or parking system.

  3. james

    Never even new about until this article so thanks for that – off topic, but what is the conversion of RMB to USD ? Is their a calculator for this someplace?

  4. james

    So, someone had bid $31,424 for the domain with several close bidders behind that bid?

  5. Acro

    Why did you find the article “offending” and “scandalous”, Shane? It’s the truth. I understand there’s a special relationship between and you so let’s just leave it at that.

  6. Terrell

    Trademark enforcement is a tough problem to solve, especially the more generic a trademark. It’s not just a blocking of a word and calling it done.

    Shane as you know, I raise Texas Longhorn cattle. Even though the Texas Longhorn breed of cattle was around hundreds of years before a university in Austin decided to select them as a mascot, the University of Texas still thinks they have superior rights to the term “Texas Longhorn”.

    I go to Snap and search for “Longhorn” and get zero results (try it). I try to list one of my Texas Longhorn domains at Sedo, I receive “We’re sorry, but we cannot allow you to add this domain to your account due to a potential conflict with the trademark rights of a third party.”.

  7. Johnnie

    “It’s not as simple as writing a program and having it check and cull out domains that infringing.”

    It’s exactly that easy. Like a forum can set it up to **** out cuss words. Some domains can go either way but not the obvious ones like iphone, microsoft, facebook, verizon etc. You can start there. Of course none of the companies want to because they make money when these infringing names sell and pass the buck to the TM owner. This business can do some things on their own to combat this but, again it’s about the money.

  8. Gnanes

    Entrepreneur word is a TM as well and the company that owns it goes after every business. Recent case was involving who was forced to change their name. Their new domain is going to be (Yeah it’s a 0)

    Face is also a TM and Book. You can’t build social sites on doamins with Face or book. There’s so many other 1 word TMs. It’s just ridiculous.

  9. Gnanes

    Big players in the market need to take action and set an example. Take a look at number of TM domains listed on the markets below.

    iPhone – 8.618 results
    Microsoft – 13.767 result
    Facebook – 425 search results

    iPhone – 1,000+ results
    Microsoft – 1,000+ results
    Facebook – 1,000+ results

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