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Adwords: Buying A Competitor’s Domain Name

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In August, I blogged about American Airlines suing Google for allowing other companies to buy their trademarked terms such as “American Airlines.”    I argued that Google should win this case because it was my opinion that another company should be able to buy generic keywords, like “American airlines,” since it isn’t necessarily associated with American Airlines.    Had it been a company with a more distinctive trademark, I would have argued that it was unethical to buy those keywords.    I have no legal background, so I couldn’t weigh in with a legal opinion.

That brings me to a post I just read on a forum about a company I do business with that is buying not only a keyword with the name of a competitor in it, but the actual domain name of the competitor.    I was surprised to see that when you type Sedo.com into Google, obviously searching for Sedo, there is a BuyDomains.com paid advertisement.    I don’t think this should be permitted by Google.    It’s one thing to buy keywords such as “Domain Brokers” or “Domain Sales,” but I don’t think it’s right to buy the exact keyword domain name of a competitor.

I am sure companies across a wide variety of industries are utilizing this practice, but that doesn’t make it right.

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Tool to View Unreleased Information

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It may be possible to see what projects a company has planned by using the Reverse IP tool, found at DomainTools. In case you weren’t aware, you can see what domain names reside on different servers by using this tool. By seeing the domain names registered by a particular company, you may be able to learn unreleased information about what projects (or type of projects) the registrant has in the works.

Unfortunately, this tool isn’t free, but is a part of your Domaintools membership, which I highly recommend. Other member tools such as the Whois History check are invaluable and can help determine a domain’s provenance when considering a purchase.

As reported on WebProNews.com this morning via another post on ResourceShelf.com, Google registered CouponGoogle.com on 9/13, and it is pointed to Google nameservers. It would only be speculation to predict what Google intends to do with the domain name, but speculation is half of the fun!

Add Me to Your Google Reader

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I recently changed the server for my blog. Instead of being located on TopNotchDomains.com/Blog, it is now located on ElliotsBlog.com. If you would like to add me to your Google RSS feeder, please use this link:

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Introducing Hulu

News Corp, NBC Universal To Name Online Video Venture ‘Hulu’

A few months after announcing they were planning a video sharing website as a possible rival to Google.

American Airlines seeks damages against Google

American Airlines seeks damages against Google
American Airlines filed a lawsuit against Google for selling Adwords related to its trademarks (including “American Airlines”. Personally, I think the claim is ludicrous. In my opinion, the term “American Airlines” is about as generic as they come. Why can’t US Airways, another “American airline,” purchase the keyword “American airlines?” Why shouldn’t anyone who sells anything associated with American airlines buy this particular keyword? Perhaps searchers are looking for the airline, but maybe they are just looking for information about an American airline.

I hope Google fights this and wins, because this claim seems over the top to me.

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