Did UDRP Decision Get Revision After Publication Without Notification?

I read something pretty surprising on CircleID this morning pertaining to the Wooot.com UDRP decision that has reportedly been revised after publication. I initially wrote about the decision because I found it strange that the domain name was canceled by the panelist, and Andrew followed-up with more questions about the decision. Domain investor and frequent domain watchdog, George Kirikos, wrote the Circle ID article.

According to Kirikos’ research (and documented in Andrew’s article), someone removed the following important sentence from the UDRP decision after it had been published: “Complainant held a trademark registration for “AOL” and Respondent registered the domain name “iaol.com.”‘

Kirikos explains that the reason this line is important was that “This was completely out of place and nonsensical, because the complainant was Woot, not AOL, and iaol.com was a reference to a completely different case in 2002. This was the original “smoking gun” that caused the public to dig further into other cases of “cut/paste” amongst panelists. An archive of the original decision (cached on April 22, 2010) was made at Webcitation.”

There also doesn’t appear that there is any explanation as to why this UDRP appears to have been revised post-publication nor does there appear to be any notice issued on the National Arbitration Forum website. It doesn’t seem right that a UDRP decision could be revised after it’s issued without any sort of explanation or notice, especially when this particular section of the UDRP is one of the things that made Kirikos identify the cut/paste UDRP problem in the first place.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. As Internal Legal Counsel for the FORUM, I assure you that Panelists always have the unilateral opportunity to correct mistakes in their decisions. In this case, the Parties pointed out the mistakes in the decision before the blogosphere picked it up. The Panel did ask us to issue a corrected decision to the Parties within about 24 hours of the mistake being noted and the corrected decision has been online since then. The FORUM does not publicly announce when a Panel has corrected mistakes made in the preparation of its decision.

  2. So “correction” means anything a panelist might like to modify after the fact with no time constraint, and “not publicly announce” means don’t create a changelog or admit that anything was wrong to begin with.

    What kind of demented pseudo-legal system are you developing over there in Namibia?

  3. lol Nice try, Kristine. If the panel actually “corrected” the decision, why did the final lines remain:

    “Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.

    Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name be CANCELLED.”

    In other words “you proved your case, but we’re going to CANCEL the domain registration?” Hello?

    Please respond on the CircleID thread, too, where Paul Keating has asserted the exact opposite. He wrote:

    “On prior occasions I have asked for corrections in NAF decisions and have been told that it was not possible, that they would not request panelists to do so, and they objected to any attempt on my part to raise the issue directly with the panelists – even if copying the other side in any correspondence.”

    While you’re answering questions, why not explain why NAF pulled out of credit card arbitrations? 🙂

    Here’s a simple question for NAF (and WIPO) to consider. Would you support a system where arbitration only occurs if *both* sides opt-in to it? i.e. where you raise your game and demonstrate it’s actually *superior* to the court system for both sides? Instead of this “race to the bottom” as each UDRP provider lowers standards to attract complainants, do you support a system where both sides come to you and your forum is seen as truly “neutral” and fair to both sides? Go and read the threads of discussion I’ve linked to on CircleID, going to DNW.com and TheDomains and other discussions….there are a lot of well thought out criticisms of NAF and WIPO (and CAC) that being made.

  4. A few points:

    George: You can grant a complaint and cancel the domain – that is a remedy available to the complainant – sort of like wack-a-mole but it is an option.


    The more bothersome point is that there exists copies of the decision taken from the NAF site far more recently then 24 hours after publication of the problem. In reality, this proves that (a) your “press-release above is rather incorrect, and (b) it would appear that NAF has fabricated the reasons for “correction”.

    Given the track record of NAF, I really think that more information should be provided regarding this issue as well as the issue raised about internal employees providing panelists with “summaries” or “suggested decisions”. When you come clean on the above we will begin to trust you all again. If you don’t I think it may perhaps be time to involve the AG again.

  5. Paul: Yes, it’s *possible* for cancellation to happen. In the vast majority of the times it has happened, though, it was because the complainant was foolish and asked for it.

    But, where the complainant asked for a transfer (as they did explicitly for wooot.com) and instead the panel goes for a cancel? It’s almost unheard of. I can only think of one other time, and the panelist made an extensive argument that because the domain name could have other uses, he was going to cancel it…..I think it even got some blog coverage….can’t find the case now, though, but perhaps it’ll trigger a memory from someone else).

    In any case, here in the wooot.com case, there was simply no explanation whatsoever as to why he chose to cancel it. Given the iaol.com stuff, it leads me to believe it was another instance of cut/paste from another decision.

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