Using Brand Name In A Domain Is Risky Or Not - Sourajit Saha

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Using Brand Name In A Domain Is Risky Or Not

A new blogger asked me in our blogging community, is it legal to use any brand name in a domain name? It's really a good question, I must appreciate it. And there are also some legal issues involved in this case. The topic is debatable. There is a famous blog named appleinsider.com which serves all the latest news about apple inc. The blog's domain authority is 89, and "Apple" term is inside the domain. And everything is fine there. May be they have a trademark issue with apple inc. Another thing also important. Suppose apple.com, if any person registered any domain including apple term before the register of apple.com, then that is absolutely perfect. But if you purchase the domain name of particular already registered “brand name” after the founding of the “brand name” company. In that case, the domain can be taken from you through legal action in court or they can shut down your domain by contacting the domain provider like Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc. the domain providers will never disallow you to purchase those type of domains, but later may be you get into trouble. Google still gives preference to exact matched domain, so if you use the trademark term directly, you may get a little benefit, but if it has to shut down the domain, all your hard work will go in vain.
Using Brand Name In A Domain Is Risky Or Not

I heard about a guy who bout a domain with the word "Kindle", and later he received an email from Amazon to remove the domain name. Another scenario is, big brands don't care at he primary stage, but when you spam a lot and outrank the official blog, then you may draw their attention, and then the will take the necessary steps to remove your domain. Here is an example. 
Google Search Result
Look at this. Someone registers gta6grandtheftauto.com, "Grand Theft Auto" is a copyrighted word by Rockstar North. May be they still not aware of this blog. So I will suggest you not to use any brand name in your domain name so that you can be 100% safe and no headache.
Copyright Issue
Never register a domain name containing a famous brand such as google, facebook, amazon, YouTube, etc. why? Okay, let me give an example. Amit Bhawani is a famous Indian blogger, and his blog's name is www.amitbhawani.com where he posts some excellent stuff. Now if you register a blog named amibhawaniservices.com where you want to provide some SEO services. If your services are not good or getting negative feedbacks, they what will people think? Amit Bhawani is not a good blogger/ internet marketer. So his reputation will go down where he does not know anything about this. So it could make a confusion among customers. So you can't register a domain containing a brand name. They have their strong trademark protection and copyright. eBay does not allow anybody to use the term eBay. They have a strong trademark policy. I am mentioning a little part of eBay's trademark policy for your convenience- 
If a person operates a website using a domain name that contains someone else's trademark (for example, "www.nikestuff.com"), people who see or visit that domain name are likely to be confused and believe that the site is affiliated with Nike when it is not. People may also mistakenly go to this website thinking it's connected with the other company, only to find out that it is not. Intentional misspellings of and similarities to trademarked names (for example, www.wwwebay.com, www.amizon.com) may also be considered trademark infringements. Just because a company hasn't registered all variations of its name or trademark as domain names doesn't mean that others can use those domain names. If the domain names are likely to confuse consumers, they're probably infringing.
Just like if there was a site named parishilton.com then you may get a warning about this issue cause she is an international celebrity. So it's always better if you choose a domain like- iloveparishilton.com or parishiltonfanclub.com, it's totally safe. The domain name law says, "Even though a domain name may be available to register if it conflicts with someone else’s trademark rights you may not be able to use it." Now let me tell my experience about it. I bought a domain almost one year ago. It was related Instagram, and the term "Instagram" was included in the domain. Then I got a notice from NameCheap (my domain provider) as Facebook's domain name manager contacted with hem. Here is NameCheap's email including Facebook's mail-

Hello,

We receive a complaint regarding a probable trademark infringement for the instagram****.com domain, of which you are the registered owner. As a valued customer and the registered owner of the domain, and per Namecheap Registration Agreement and WhoisGuard Service Agreement, we are forwarding the above-mentioned email to you so that you can address this matter. We cannot advise you as to what action to take, but we strongly urge you to review the email quoted below and recommend contacting the complainant to resolve this matter.
==============
03-Mar-2017
To Whom It May Concern:
We write on behalf of Instagram, Inc. regarding the hosting and use of the domain name instagram****.com, which contains the famous INSTAGRAM trademark. The registrant has used your services to host instagram****.com.

Trademark: Instagram
Country: United States
Registered: May 22, 2012
Application or Registration No.: 4146057
Word, Design, or Word & Design: Word
Owner Name and Address:
Facebook, Inc. (Delaware Corporation)
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States of America

Unauthorized use of the Instagram mark, such as instagram****.com, will inevitably cause confusion as to whether the domain and underlying use are authorized, endorsed, or sponsored by Instagram when, in fact, they are not. Instagram has an obligation to its users and the public to police against the registration and use of domain names that may cause such consumer confusion. I have a good faith belief that use of the trademarks in the domain as described above are not authorized by the trademark owner or its agent, nor is such use otherwise permissible under law. We have reached out to the registrant with no response or compliance. We request that you review any use of the domain name to ensure that it complies with your terms of service. If it violates your policies, Instagram asks that you immediately suspend hosting of the domain name. I represent, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is true and correct, and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the trademark owner, Instagram, Inc. Please let us know if you need any additional information.

Sincerely,
Susan Kawaguchi
Domain Name Manager, Facebook, Inc.
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States of America
=================
Regards,
Alexander Neustroev
Legal & Abuse Department
Namecheap.com

Again I will suggest you all not to use any brand name in your domain, and you see the email that I received from Namecheap or Facebook whatever you say. You can create your name as a brand yourself like Neil Patel or Matthew Woodward. Or like me... lol... no reason to follow me cause I'm still a learner. I just share here about my experience and failure stories and some odd stories of mine. Well, no more today. If you have any doubt or question, feel free to contact me here. Just do drop a comment below. If you really like this post, then please do share it with your friends via social networks like Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc. If you want to get all the latest updates of this blog, you can like my Facebook page, follow on twitter or subscribe my blog feed. Take care. Have a nice day.

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Sourajit_Saha
Hi, I’m Sourajit Saha, An Online Marketer From Kolkata, India. I Have Been Blogging Since Last Quarter Of 2010. I Started Blogging As A Hobby, And Soon It Turned Into Passion And Later Profession. Click Here To Know More About Me!

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