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The Value of Cleaning Our Own Backyard

October 4, 2012

Looking over the hotlist of deleting domains today at one of the popular domain drop catching services, it’s almost hard to believe they are showcasing what is clearly a trademark (TM) domain.

One of the domains listed there as of this morning is a two-word .com domain, of which the first word is ‘Google’.

I understand it is not the company’s job to go over their list with a comb making fine-grained legal decisions about what typos may or may not constitute trademark infringement, but I think when you have a domain that contains the actual name of a Fortune 500 company like Google or Microsoft its a different story.  These cases seem pretty clear cut.

There are of course individuals in the domain industry who engage in the buying, selling and parking of such TM domains whom I would refer to as bad apples, but one ought to expect bad apples in any industry, indeed of life in general.

Yet I think it reflects much worse on the domain industry when businesses turn a blind eye to the same issues and play some part, however small, in facilitating the activity of those individuals.

In this case I expect that the hotlist is compiled by some sort of automated script and automatically published to the site, and so was not done with blatant intent. However, it should not be problematic to have that list manually reviewed each day by a human being, to be scrubbed of any clearly infringing trademark domains.

This post is not meant to be a witch hunt, pointing a blasphemous finger at any one business, (which is why I chose not to name them overtly), but I would say it of any and all businesses in our industry.

I do believe that keeping our own backyard clean is an important part of being a responsible member of any community that shares a collective interest, and that we should each do our part, in whatever way possible.  It’s far better in my opinion for a community to police itself than to have that function forced upon or given over to some centralized authority that has no share in it.

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