Fair Warning Inc Makes Van Halen Fan A Much Wealthier Man

Oct 04 2011

Brett Norton evidently loves Van Halen.  So much that he runs a forum called VHLinks.com centered around the band and its fans.  He also purchased FairWarning.com, the name of Van Halen’s 4th studio album originally release in 1981 as a testament to his fandom. Brett was nice enough to let some board members use the domain as an email address but on August 21st he made this announcement on his forum

Well I got a crazy offer to buy the domain name the other day, and I sold it. I actually think I could have gotten more in hindsight, but was so shocked by the offer to begin with, I took it. So I have to transfer over the account to Network Solutions within the next week or so.

Obviously that means that if you have use that as your main email address, you need to transfer over to something else and soon, because I don’t know how quick they’ll change it, it’s out of my hands at that point.

I will post when I have approved the transfer, so at least you’ll have a little time, but my thinking is it could be early this week. So please make plans to do that.

Any questions let me know. Sorry for the inconvenience.

He didn’t actually release the dollar amount of the sale but no doubt it was a pretty good sum but it seems like the bidder started high from the beginning and as he mentioned he was “shocked” and took the offer.  As he admitted he could have gotten more if he had done a little negotiation but it sounds like he was plenty happy with the total and that’s all that matters.  And why did he think he could have gotten more?  Because look who purchased the name

FairWarning, Inc., a leading supplier of solutions which monitor and protect patient privacy in electronic health records, today announced the acquisition of a collection of domain properties important to the FairWarning(R) brand, including FairWarning.com.

The acquisition of the FairWarning.com domain name gives FairWarning(R) the ability to directly leverage its brand through existing trademarks, marketing efforts, and intellectual properties including FairWarning(R) and Trust but Verify(R) which are both registered in the United States, Canada, and the European Union.

FairWarning(R) privacy breach detection now protects patients in the US, Canada, France and the UK. In total, FairWarning(R) is protecting patient privacy in over 700 hospitals and 2,200 clinics. The additional domain names include those specific to Canada, European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and many other countries.

Fair warning seems to be a fast growing company.  According to a recent report at TampaBay.com “FairWarning, with a current work force of 40, has revenues “in the tens of millions of dollars” and is on track for triple-digit growth this year, CEO and founder Kurt Long said. Founded in 2005, the company now provides privacy-breach detection for more than 600 hospitals and 2,200 clinics in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom”  In a time where the economy seems to be floundering, Fair Warning seems to be flourishing adding up to 70 new employees this year.  It’s these kinds of companies that seem to be smart enough to know when to make the right expenditure for a domain that will help promote and grow their company. Sounds like a great company bought a great domain for a fair amount of money.  I bet Brett never though his love of Van Halen would lead to this kind of cash.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Joel

    These are the type of Stories and domains that have the ability to make some real money. You can call it what you like, but when a company needs the name, in most cases, they really need it and will pay for it.

    Of course, the offer that he couldn’t refuse is relative. $500, $5000, $50k, $500k or more. What is an amount you couldn’t refuse, it will be different for everyone.

    Either way, interesting story. Thanks!

  2. Acro

    Fair warning to all squatters: you might not get as lucky registering a band’s copyrighted song title (song titles cannot be trademarked but can surely be copyrighted). PS I love VH and had that LP in vinyl.

    1. Post author

      Good luck finding practically any combination of words in the English language that isn’t copyrighted or a song title. Fair Warning seems like a pretty generic term to me. That is unless you find that he Looooooooves Van Halen and runs a forum. Either way I don’t see Van Halen wanting the domain for all the songs they’ve written or any band for that matter. If that were the case anyone that owns gethighscrewtheworld.com better watch out for Lil’ Wayne

  3. Scott

    It’s my understanding that song (and book and movie) titles are not generally copyrightable. Anyone could write an original song and call it “Stairway to Heaven” and be in the clear legally.

  4. Dan

    Don’t forget that the term “fair warning” can be applied to several other situations, such as the end of bidding in an auction or in legalese. It’s fairly generic, IMO.

  5. Acro

    Again, song titles cannot be trademarked – unless they refer to a repeating category of work or style of music – but they are by default copyrightable.

    As Shane said, the domain hosted a VH forum.

    Van Halen seeing a forum under FairWarning.com selling VH merchandise etc. would love to take that domain over. The seller got lucky, the new owners have nothing to do with music.

  6. Brett

    Wow someone on my site pointed me to this story. I am the the guy who sold the domain in question. I actually bought it in 1996, so I owned it since basically the beginning of the net. When I first started wanting to do a Van Halen fan site, I did it under that domain, that’s why I bought it. The site never did much, but I kept the domain. A few years later when I decided to really do a Van Halen site right, I called it vhlinks.com but just kept forwarding the fairwarning.com domain to my new site. My VH site is actually hugely popular and has been for over a decade. When they made the offer, they don’t tell you who the company is, so I had no idea who the buyer was. Also their offer was way low. If you counter though, and they accept, you HAVE to take it. I was afraid if I countered too high they’d say no and I had no way of knowing if they’d offer again or anything. So I made some good cash, but NOTHING like what I would have gotten had I known who the company was. But like I said, that info is confidential. But yeah, some extra cash for the savings account. Van Halen knows very well of my site, and that I owned that domain, never said a word to me.

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