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Buying .sucks domains a ridiculous exercise in futility for NZ companies 01 Jul 2015

PRESS RELEASE

Zone IP and Zone Law

1 July 2015

 

Buying .sucks domains a ridiculous exercise in futility for NZ companies

Buying up new domain names like .sucks to protect your name or brand is about as useful as buying up snowflakes to stop it snowing. The .sucks domain is one of the over 600 new domains created since 2012 in a broad expansion of the Internet naming system.

Intellectual property expert and lawyer, Theodore Doucas of Zone Law and Zone IP, an intellectual property law firm and consultancy in Auckland and Wellington, said that the .sucks domain is likely to be the tip of the iceberg ahead of a slew of domain names like, for example, .idiot and .stupid.

Mr Doucas said one of the biggest complaints with the .sucks domain was that the company charged with registering the domains, Vox Populi, was charging more than $US2,500 to register each domain. He said they are feeding off people’s fears of criticism.

“We have had inquiries from a number of concerned New Zealand companies in the wake of panicked celebrities in the United States buying up .sucks, .adult and .porn domain name suffixes, but our opinion is that it’s not a particularly useful strategy.

“For example, Taylor Swift buys the ‘taylorswift.sucks’ domain, but what’s to stop somebody buying the ‘wethinktaylorswift.sucks’ domain name? And what happens when other domain names come online, such as .idiot – are we all going to rush out and buy those too?”

“You cannot stop free speech in a democratic society. If somebody thinks your brand sucks, they can put up a website expressing their opinion. There may be a question regarding defamation, but ultimately you cannot stop people expressing their opinion or criticising your brand for legitimate causes.

“The best thing to do is to strive to deliver good customer service. Of course, you will always have detractors, but our advice is to respond to criticism appropriately and responsibly. We are already seeing all kinds of commentaries on review sites and on Facebook about brands, so you cannot stop it by buying up domain names.”

Although it is frustrating when other parties buy domain names using your brand it does not necessarily have to affect your business. It is more important that consumers are finding your legitimate website.

Mr Doucas said the best strategy remains to register your trademark and to provide good service. This ultimately limits others’ abilities to use your brand or access your consumer base.

“There’s no point to buying up every domain name under the sun. Trying to buy up all the domain names you can becomes a ridiculous exercise in futility. Register your trade mark and let good business practise take care of the rest,” he said.

THEODORE DOUCAS

Principal Zone Law