Have you ever wanted to buy a really good domain name (or what you thought was really good anyway) but you also noticed that this name is potentially owned by a business?
Did you know it is very stupid to buy a domain name that is trademarked? Well, we didn’t. Check out our story.
(Kids, don’t try this at home)
A few years ago, we use to dabble in a lot of things when it came to the internet. Anything you can name, we probably tried it. To be frank, we sucked at most things. Mainly because it’s hard to get really good at something when all you are doing is jumping from one new thing to another (which pretty much sums up our first several years online).
We found a way we could build a little part time business which involved building websites, implementing search engine optimization (SEO), niche research, hiring writers for websites etc. Of course, one of the first pieces of the puzzle was to get a really good domain name (at the time, the SERPS or Search Engine Results Pages for a longer boring term) gave great importance to what keywords your domain name had in them. They probably still do that to some degree today but that’s not the point.
We found a hot niche in the “credit card” sector and felt we could smack those other sites that were on the first page of Google and take their #1 spot. Sort of like Ludacris said in his song.
(Image credit: UkMix)
So all things considered, it was all systems go for this project. Let me tell you, our plan worked and worked WELL! Within a few weeks, we ranked top 3 (at times #1) for this CREDIT CARD term that made us moolah daily.
But then it happened
I went through my mail (physical mail not email) and received a letter from the bank’s headquarters. It had pretty specific instructions. They wanted us to let go of the domain name and never use it again. We were “infringing” on their trademark. Basically, we were trying to profit on the hard work they’ve put in throughout the years to build their brand.
I can accept that. Remember, at the time we didn’t know much about domain names when it came to trademarks but we got a crash course on what type of domains NOT to buy.
Here’s the breakdown
- Stay away from company names
- If you aren’t sure, do a trademark search on the United States Patent And Trademark Office
- Don’t try to be sneaky. If your website or domain starts to receive large amounts of traffic, odds are your going to get in trouble
- It’s really not worth the headache
Thankfully, we were able to let it go and move on (but there’s more). Sometimes, horror stories occur where companies take individuals to court over a domain name. That sucks. Just stay away from names you think could be trademarked.
Should you register AppleComputers.com? No, because that means your probably stupid and didn’t read anything in this post. You would obviously be trying to profit off their “brand”.
Just know in this case, the word APPLE is a common word and you could use it for other things. Just stay away from computers and electronics, the reason is obvious. It really takes a little research and a ton of common sense not to get in trouble with trademark domain names.
Remember how I mentioned there was more to our little story? So check this out.
That website was making GOOOOOD money so we had to figure out how to get back in the niche. We basically bought a entirely different domain name with the same keywords in it. The only difference was the MAIN LETTER that started the domain name. We didn’t name any bank in the domain, we just put a letter.
Wouldn’t you know, we got back to the top 3 in the search engine again in a few weeks. And guess who came knocking on our door once more?
Yep you guessed it. They wanted us to take this new website down since we were mentioning OUR OPINION on the company, giving the readers facts etc.
This time, we told them to shove it. They did not own anything when it came to this domain name. This time, they were being bullies.
Tell Them To F*** Off
- Don’t get bullied
- If you are in the right, stand up for yourself
- Companies and people can sometimes suck and try to knock off competition or be annoying, try and decipher when they do not have any right to come against you
So we kept the 2nd version of the name, made some money with it and sold it down the road.
Hope this story helped you all when it comes to trademarked domain names.
(If you have any comments or questions, feel free to let us know below)