Google Buys Plus.me

Google Buys Plus.me

Google bolsters +1 domain name coverage with .me purchases.

Google has purchased the domain name Plus.me, updated whois records show.

The domain name was apparently purchased in November of last year, but remained under whois privacy protection until today.

The purchase appears to be related to Google’s +1 tool (pronounced “plus one”), as the company also purchase plusone.me at the same time.

Plus.me now has Google nameservers but does not yet resolve.

The sales to Google were certainly a welcome surprise for the sellers, who could not possibly have predicted that Google would launch a service with a name matching their domains.


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My Commentary on Commentary.com, Which Just Survived a UDRP

My Commentary on Commentary.com, Which Just Survived a UDRP

Domain owner wins case but panelist’s rationale is troublesome.

The owner of the generic domain name Commentary.com has successfully defended his domain name from The American Jewish Committee (AJC) in a UDRP.

AJC has operated Commentary Magazine since 1945, thus its interest in the domain name.

The owner of Commentary.com registered it all the way back in 1997. He immediately started using the site to publish executive summaries of Chinese commentaries in English. After a few years he suspended this activity due to lack of subscriptions, and used the domain name off an on through the years for various purposes. But now it’s just a holding page.

AJC has offered to purchase the domain name on two occasions, both times rebuffed because the owner said he planned to use the domain name again shortly for a new project.

Given these circumstances it’s no surprise that AJC lost. But I’m disappointed in how panelist Charles A. Kuechenmeister determined the case.

Kuechenmesiter wrote a lengthy discussion of whether or not the domain owner had rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

To me this is a slam dunk: the owner registered it back in 1997 and began using the site. Just because he isn’t using it now is less relevant. In fact, that AJC told the panel that “Respondent has not used the Domain Name since it became registered in 1997″ is blatantly false. That should be grounds for reverse domain name hijacking.

Yet the panelist gave some credence to AJC’s arguments, writing:

The Panel notes with concern the extended period of inactivity, or at least lack of substance or actual content, on the web site resolving from the Domain Name and is hesitant to find that Respondent has demonstrated rights and legitimate interest in it in the face of such extended inactivity. Actual commentary appears to have been presented only from 1997 until early 2001

Ultimately the Kuechenmeister finds that the domain name owner does have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. But in doing so he cites the owner turning down two offers for the domain from AJC, writing:

Had Respondent not been seriously planning and preparing to use the Domain Name for the purposes stated, it is difficult to imagine that it would have passed up an opportunity to be paid some $27,500 for it.

We’ve seen panelists “appraise” the value of domain names before, using it against domain name owners. Had the domain owner said “I’m planning to use the domain name, but for $100,000 I’ll abandon those plans and sell to you”, would the panelist have found in favor of AJC?

The ultimate decision against AJC was correct, but the panelists’ rationale concerns me.


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