I did a double take this afternoon when looking at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s website. A UDRP was filed against Hug.com and Hug.net. The case is WIPO Case D2016-1620.
As far as I am concerned, Hug.com and Hug.net are about as descriptive as you can get. Both domain names appear to be owned by the same owner, a registrant based in California, according to the Whois information. If you visit the domain names, you will see the domain names have a for sale form on them. Selling descriptive domain names is a perfectly legitimate business model. Hug.com was created in 1995 and Hug.net was created in 1999.
According to DomainIQ, Hug.com has a value of $172,000 and Hug.net has a value of $15,000. In my opinion, these automated valuations seem low as I believe Hug.com would make a great brand name because of its positive connotation. I checked NameBio, and I do not see a record of any public sales for either Hug.com or Hug.net.
The complainant in this UDRP is listed as HÃ´pitaux Universitaires de GenÃ¨ve. I had never heard of this entity before, and a Google search shows that it uses hug-ge.ch for its website. I can see why this complainant would want the Hug.com and Hug.net domain names, but I do not believe they should be able to use the UDRP process as a means to acquire these valuable domain names, unless there is more to this story that I cannot see.
I will be following this UDRP as it progresses. I presume the owner of these valuable domain names will have good representation to defend these domain name assets in the UDRP proceeding. Once the UDRP decision is published, I will update this article.
Update: In an unsurprising decision, the Hug.com, Hug.net and Hug.org UDRP has been denied, according to UDRPSearch.com. The decision has not yet been published, but I would not be surprised to see a RDNH finding.
Update 2: The decision was published and the majority of the panel concluded that reverse domain name hijacking had taken place.