Naturals.com is now the subject of a UDRP proceeding at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The UDRP is WIPO Case D2019-2508. It looks like the UDRP was filed within the last few days.
Naturals.com has a creation date of 2001. This domain name appears to be owned by a registrant based in South Korea. Using the Whois History tool at DomainTools, it appears that this is the same registrant who owned this domain name since the first archived entry in 2003. That means this domain name appears to have been registered to the same registrant for over 15 years and very possibly 18 years.
When I visited Naturals.com today, there is a message in Korean that when translated states “Domain Name Service (DNS) suspension due to non-payment of naturals.com fees.” In looking through the screenshot tool at DomainTools, it looks like this or a similar message has appeared on the landing page for the past several years.
The complainant in this UDRP is listed as Ms.Veena Kumaravel. A Wikipedia entry for this person states, “Veena Kumaravel (born August 25, 1966) is an Indian entrepreneur and founder of Naturals, which is based in Chennai.” It looks like her company, Naturals, uses the .IN ccTLD domain name, Naturals.in for its website. I can see why the complainant would want to upgrade to the more global Naturals.com domain name. I do not think the UDRP was created to hand over a high value dictionary .com domain name though.
As a highly desirable generic domain name, Naturals.com has substantial value. I would imagine its wholesale value today, at a minimum, is in the mid-five figure range. In fact, in looking through my own emails, I see I offered $15,000 to buy the domain name in 2007 and I never received a response from the registrant. Prior to knowing about this legal threat, I would have been willing to pay substantially more than $15,000 to buy Naturals.com. It’s retail value, I would imagine, could be well into the six figures.
I do not see anything that would indicate the registrant is using the domain name in bad faith or in a manner that is infringing on the complainant’s brand. I also think it would be difficult to prove that a valuable dictionary .com domain name like this one was registered in bad faith. The complainant would need to prove both, in addition to other aspects of the UDRP, in order to prevail. I hope the domain name suspension will not prevent the registrant from receiving notice of the UDRP so it can be defended.
Update: As I expected, the UDRP complaint was denied. The panelist found that this was not a case of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking though.