Don’t Email Trademark Domain Names for Sale

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Chalk this one up to something that should be common sense, but I received an email solicitation this morning that made me think it serve some good to share my thoughts. Buying domain names with common trademarks is a bad idea. Sending out email solicitations trying to sell these domain names is an even worse idea.

No, I am not going to buy a domain name with Google, Microsoft, or Harrods in it. I am certainly not going to buy an exact brand match domain name with a popular TM in it in an obscure ccTLD or new gTLD. Not only would owning a domain name like this expose my company to unnecessary legal risk, I do not think any big brand would ever even consider purchasing one of these domain names.

I do not really see any upside to registering obvious trademark domain names in 2020. The ones that could get traffic to monetize are long gone. A large brand will likely file a UDRP if it wants to have a trademark related domain name or it simply wants to prevent a third party from owning it. Worse, if a trademark owner wants to make an example of someone, they could easily file a lawsuit.

Registering obvious trademark domain names with the names of unique big brands in them is generally considered playing with fire. Some people might get lucky and not be bothered by the brand, but that likely means the domain name is worth so little the brand owner does not even care about someone else owning it. Others could end up dealing with legal threats or legal actions. All of this can end up causing a waste of time and expense without any potential positive outcome.

I would strongly recommend that new (and other) domain investors steer totally clear of obvious trademark domain names. There is nuance in trademark law, but I don’t think there is much leeway owning domain names with obvious trademarks in them (like JetBlue, Reebok, or Goldman Sachs, for example). If, for some reason, your opinion is different than mine on owning TM domain names, I think sending email solicitations to try and sell them is a terrible idea, particularly to other domain investors.

5 COMMENTS

    • True, but TM law can be complicated.

      Theoretically, you could own JetBlueSucks.com or JetBlue.Sucks and use it as a platform to share why you think the airline stinks. On the other hand, if you bought them in order to sell them, that is where you could have a problem.

  1. Elliot –
    Yes – it usually starts with someone contacting you with a low ball offer on one of your top 5 generic common use domains and when they do not get the number they expect they call you a “cybersquatter” and are notifying ICANN not too mention spending $29 on a BS website and telling you what an moron you are for your political affiliation and other irrelevant and inaccurate nonsense and then, as you indicate, they become a genius and reserve TM domains and solicit everybody they can find from NameJet, GoDaddy and SEDO auctions and DomainTools and other WHOIS records. Most recently this happened about two weeks ago with a domain The???.com they forgot to renew and some speculator now owns it with a huge price tag – where I own the generic term WITHOUT the “The”.
    Bri

  2. you would be hard pressed to find any common english word that isn’t trademarked in at least several categories. i know what you are trying to say but you are not saying it clearly or succinctly.

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