So American Idol had its 2011 premier tonight, and you know what that means… the unsavory practice of registering domain names related to AI contestants.
It seems that every year, as contestants perform in the preliminary rounds, some people speculate and purchase domain names of the contestants who have great (or horrible) performances. I am sure Go Daddy is buzzing right now with people trying to grab these names to strike cybersquatting gold.
Some of these domain names will inevitably end up on auction sites like Ebay, some may end up as fan sites, and most will drop, just as the competitors are culled during later rounds.
If you’ve purchased an American Idol contestant domain name, keep in mind that there aren’t a whole lot of things you can do with the domain name without infringing on the rights of the person whose name your domain name was named after. Face it, you registered it specifically to capitalize on that person’s image and reputation, and there is the potential for major legal damages in the Lanham Act.
Sure, you may be able to set up a fan site, but do you really want to go through the time and effort, when monetizing that could prove to be a legal challenge for you, especially if the contestant goes far and the Fox legal team comes after you?
PS: If you happen to be an American Idol contestant (or doing anything to become famous), you should obviously purchase your name in the .com if you can prior to your fame and notoriety.