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To Fight or Not To Fight a CyberSquatter

I recently discovered that one of my active web sites’ domain names has attracted the attention of a cybersquatter. I emailed the address on the page, which bounced. So I poked around a bit and found another email address. I emailed that address and got a polite note back. I asked if I could purchase the domain name for $75, which should cover their registration expenses for the 4 years they’ve had it. I got back a note telling me that only serious inquiries would be entertained. Their page now has the same keywords and text that is found on my site.

I think I can very easily show that the other domain has been registered in bad faith. He’s trying to make some money off of my hard work. And he’s causing confusion in the marketplace, if people accidentally go to his domain name instead of mine.

Under ICANN’s rules for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, I think I would win the domain if I filed a formal complaint. The catch is that would cost me $1,300 or $1,500, depending on which organization I file the complain with, The National Arbitration Forum (NAF) or World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

I’d love to get some advice on how to proceed. My options are:

  1. I could offer the cybersquatter (who has lost several of these cases, so he’s familiar with the process) a little more money, but that really galls me.
  2. I could file a complaint, and be out at least $1,300. But I think I would prevail.
  3. Or I could rebrand my site under a new domain name.

If anyone has any experience with this process, I’d love to get your feedback.

Here are a couple of good resources:

One Comment

  1. Jim Gharib says:

    Mike, Copying is another form of compliment. Ifthe copier is not taking anything away from you, traffic or otherwise, then just leave him alone and he may go away after a while and you save some money. If he’s taking business away from you, then by all means fight it but spend as much as he’s taking away from you. Jim