The recent top-level domain name explosion has been of great interest to existing brand owners and new market entrants alike. No longer is a business limited to deciding which of a few top-level domains, such as .com, .net, .org., .us or various country-specific domains, to select when registering for a new Internet address. Under the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the number of top-level domains available has greatly expanded, including generic terms that identify a variety of products, services, content, and Web users (e.g., .business), geographic indicators (e.g., .nyc), and well-known brands (e.g., .google). Vox Populi Registry, the domain registrar for .sucks, recently announced it will set the fee to register a .sucks top-level domain name, both in the sunrise period reserved for trademark owners and thereafter, for $2,499. While both the sunrise and general registration fee are significantly higher than most other gTLDs, the detrimental effect of having BRAND.sucks held (and used) by an unrelated, and perhaps unfriendly, third party could be significantly more expensive in the long run.
Vox Populi Registry will charge an additional fee of $299+ for premium domain names – such as marriage.sucks or divorce.sucks – that the registrar deems to be particularly valuable or desirable. The sunrise period starts March 30th and general registration begins June 1st. If the brand owner opts to not register its own trademark on the .sucks registry, and someone else obtains the registration, options include a lawsuit under the federal antipiracy law, the UDRP procedure and the URS procedure. Considering that paypalsucks.com and other similar sites are allowed to operate under freedom of speech and fair use grounds, businesses should (quickly) consider whether to proactively register their own company’s .sucks domain to prevent it from falling into the hands of those operating in bad faith.
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