In more than one UDRP proceeding, pages from the Wayback Machine (found on Archive.org) have been submitted as evidence against the domain owner. The Wayback Machine is an Internet archive that takes snapshots of a website at various points in time, and the pages are indexed on the site.
In the case of the Cleveland Browns UDRP for Browns.com in May of 2011, the team shared results from the Wayback Machine from 2005, which showed links to football related links and merchandise. This was one major factor that seems to have doomed the domain owner.
People might ask why someone would want to have their site removed from the Wayback Machine, if not for nefarious reasons. Let’s say you purchase a descriptive domain name today, and the name may also be considered part of another company’s trademark. Perhaps you love apples and bought AppleStore.com (only an example).
The fact that the registrant change might be considered by a UDRP panelist as a “new registration” could be one strike since it wouldn’t pre-date the trademark. If there were previously links on the site that may have infringed on the technology company’s usage, it could be strike number two. If you are planning to utilize the name in a way that does not infringe on another company’s marks, you shouldn’t have to worry that the company will come after you with evidence of previous infringement.
As we all know, there aren’t necessarily three strikes in a UDRP proceeding, and these two facts might satisfy the three elements required in a UDRP. That being said, you should be able to remove those pages from the Wayback Machine to avoid future problems, and there’s an easy way to do it.
Full details can be found on Archive.org, but the gist of it is that you need to add a special command in your robots.txt file that most websites have. According to the removal guide:
To exclude the Internet Archive’s crawler (and remove documents from the Wayback Machine) while allowing all other robots to crawl your site, your robots.txt file should say:
It’s pretty easy to do, although I haven’t done it with any of my sites. I am not sure if there are downsides to this, and if so, what those downsides are, so you should look into this before undertaking this.