You may have read that Groupon is fighting to get its Australian ccTLD domain name. It had offered to pay over a quarter of a million dollars for the domain name and a similar trademark filing. It seems a bit odd that a company would seemingly reward an alleged cybersquatter for this much money, but Groupon needs this (and similar) domain names ASAP.
Groupon is a rapidly growing company in a vertical that has very few barriers to entry. Local companies with the manpower and desire to pound the pavement can work with local businesses and start their own entities. As businesses go, this one is not too difficult to duplicate, although it isn’t easy to scale.
Groupon is in the phase where they are quickly growing around the world, be it with acquisitions of large enough competitors that they can enter markets rapidly, or by entering the market and becoming the dominant presence. Groupon is fast becoming known throughout the world as THE company that offers group deals.
In addition to using a universal .com domain name (Groupon.com), the company is embracing local ccTLDs. The company operates sites like Groupon.ca, Groupon.de, Groupon.com.mx, Groupon.co.uk, Groupon.es, Groupon.fr, Groupon.co.il, Groupon.jp, Groupon.cn, and many others, which are highly targeted.
With its rapid growth, the company probably doesn’t have the time to wait for the settlement of lawsuits or determination of UDRPs to get the domain names it wants to operate. Instead, the money is less important to this well funded company than the time it will take to get the domain name via UDRP and/or lawsuit.
It’s interesting to watch Groupon seemingly reward others for grabbing Groupon ccTLDs, but domain investors should note that this is an isolated situation, and doing so with other trademarks can be very risky and expensive to defend.