The Brand Shakedown:

How Domain Name Companies are Behaving Like The Mafia.


You’ve heard of, and probably seen the new “Top Level Domains” out there. These are domain extensions that allow you to have something other than .com or .net at the end of your website address.

For example, you can go purchase .guru or .vegas domains today.

These fancy domain extensions might run you a couple hundred bucks a year to own.

And if you own a trademark, you can pre-register your own “.sucks” domain now for the low-low price of… 25,000 dollars annually. In a couple months they will be available to the public for around 300 dollars.

Pause.

Okay, let’s think about that for a minute.

How is this anything other than extortion?

“Nice brand you have there. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.” -Al Capone, probably.

So let’s get this straight: Vox Populi Registry is saying “We’re going to allow anybody to buy .sucks domains for 300 bucks. But if you have a legal right to your brand, you can buy it now for $25,000 paid every year. We’ll keep that brand nice and safe.

Can’t pay for this “protection?” Well, then we can’t guarantee the safety of your brand.

Oh and get this: The Vox Populi Registry CEO says that if anything it’s “Under priced.” You can read snippets from an interview with him at Domainincite where he insists that the .sucks pricing is a cheap way to offer customer service.

No, I’m not kidding.

Intellectual Property and .sucks

What remains unclear is how this behavior will influence intellectual property law in the years to come. Will it spawn lawsuits? Maybe, but more than that, it will serve as the poster child for the IP lobbyists, especially if Vox Pop wins the bid to be the provider of the .sucks domain.