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Thread: someone took my website name .org

  1. #1
    Member Needs New Keyboard Array huggytree's Avatar
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    Default someone took my website name .org

    i got an alert today from google that someone took my website name

    instead of waukeshaplumbing.com they got waukeshaplumbing.org

    i assume there's nothing i can do about it...wish i would have bought it

    im still #1,#2 on google...he's #5

    the business i gain from my website is almost 0, but it bugs me.

    can anyone buy the .com, .org , .net names???

  2. #2
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    Yes, anyone can buy the .com, .net and .org names (and also names with most other TLDs such as .biz and .mobi). I believe that in the early days there used to be a restriction on the .org names but not any more. There are still restrictions on some domains, such as .us, where you must have some connection with the US.

    If someone owns a trademark in the name, they may be able to get the name back through a WIPO action, but that costs a few thousand dollars.

    The lesson for anyone here is that if you don't want someone else to buy a URL, the practical answer is to buy it yourself.

    On the other hand, I occasionally get emails from some registrar in the far east falsely claiming that someone has tried to register one of my domains with a .cn (China) or .hk (Hong Kong). Then they try to sell you the domain with the .cn, .hk, .tw, and .asia CCTLDs, as well as variants such as .com.cn, .org.cn and .net.cn. Plus, their reg fees are pretty high. I guess they figure if someone is enough of a sucker to buy a dozen ccTLDs, they won't know that $99 a year is a rip off.

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    Huggy, I just did a search and you didn't come up on the list of local plumbers in G either. You came up 1 (I think) in the natural SERPS and he came up about 5. Just FYI

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    Yes, and the other company - Clear View Plumbing - has optimized his front page for Waukesha Plumbing, rather than Clear View Plumbing. Even though Waukesha Plumbing is a legitimate term for him - he is a plumber and he works in Waukesha - it does seem like a direct attempt to steal traffic.

    Interesting! What would the SEO experts here recommend?

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    Since he is using the name of your business on the website I would check to see if he is violating your trademark. Per the US trademark site "You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark." Since you have been in business for years, I would check if that counts as legitimate use. You won't be able to get the site taken down but he may have to remove the "Waukesha Plumbing" wording. You can get more trademark info here - Basic Facts About Trademarks

    On the SEO front, this guy appears to be one step ahead of Huggytree. First I would suggest that HuggyTree adds a link to his site in his signature using "Waukesha Plumbing" as the anchor text. That will help to keep Huggytree at the top. I also suggest working on getting links for site related to plumbing. He also needs to register with Google as a local business. It's free advertising.
    Last edited by nealrm; 06-20-2010 at 10:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nealrm View Post
    Since he is using the name of your business on the website I would check to see if he is violating your trademark. Per the US trademark site "You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark." Since you have been in business for years, I would check if that counts as legitimate use. You won't be able to get the site taken down but he may have to remove the "Waukesha Plumbing" wording.
    Although common law trademarks are established by use, and are determined by courts based on state common law, I suspect that huggy would have a hard time enforcing rights in a name that consisted of the name of the town and the type of service he provides. I can't imagine a court giving a Chicago photographer rights to "Chicago Photography," a New York delicatessen "New York Deli," a Las Vegas resort "Las Vegas Hotel" or a Memphis Realtor "Memphis Real Estate" just because the business chose that very generic and descriptive name for its business in those locations.

    Now, if a restaurant in Chicago opened with the name "Memphis," or a hotel opened in Memphis called "The Las Vegas," that would be different. Depending on prior usage in the area, I could see the business acquiring rights in those names.

    It runs against the concept of trademarks to tell every other plumber in Waukesha that he can't use "Waukesha" and "plumbing" together to advertise that he does plumbing in Waukesha.

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    @haroldmansfield Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
    i got an alert today from google that someone took my website name
    Google doesn't send out alerts concerning domain name registration to owners of similar domains. Registrars do that.

    They are a licensed domain registrar, but unless something has changed, are not in the domain business.
    I would check the validity of this alert.

    On the other note, is waukeshaplumbing the name of your business? Or just the domain that you use?

    If it is not the actual name of your business, unless you have it (waukeshaplumbing) trademarked, there is nothing you can do about it.
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    David,
    True, It's hard to enforce a trademark based on a name and a service. However it has been done. Example - St. Louis Bread Company (started in St. Louis). For those of you thinking about naming you business reread David's statement 10 or 15 times.

    In this case look how the page is designed. This is not a case of using "Waukesha" and "Plumbing" together in an effort to promote a plumbing company in Waukesha. Instead the page design appears to be more of an effort to use Huggytrees business name to promote another competing company. The use of "Waukesha Plumbing" is awkward and little was done on the page to promote the term "Clear View Plumbing". In addition the page title is setup in a manner so that "Waukesha Plumbing" is prominent and "Clear View Plumbing" is completly hidden.

    Truly not the best case, but maybe enough that a well written letter might scare him into changing the page a little.

    Huggytree, another suggestion. There are 6 commen dot extension. Buy the 4 that are remaining and place advertisment for you on those pages. It will cost you about $50 per year. (Very cheap advertising) Be sure to make them different and optimized for your company name. With a little luck, you maybe able to knock the other goy down and off the front page.
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  9. #9
    Refugee from the .com Array cbscreative's Avatar
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    Since the legal battle could be very expensive, I would go for the SEO approach to outrank him. I suspect if the competitor is lazy enough to try to steal your name to get ranked, he probably lacks the knowhow or stamina to counteract some good SEO. The best way to respond IMO is to bury him so deep that no one ever sees the site.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbscreative View Post
    I suspect if the competitor is lazy enough to try to steal your name to get ranked, he probably lacks the knowhow or stamina to counteract some good SEO.
    I think there are 3 assumptions in this quote that are likely wrong: that the competitor is lazy, that his intent is to "steal the name" and that he lacks the knowhow (or at least the resources of someone who does) to counteract good SEO.

    Well, I can't really comment on the lazy part, but from what I see of the competitor's website, I don't see a basis for assuming that he is trying to steal the name or lacks knowledge in SEO (or, more likely, has someone working with his website who does have an understanding of SEO).

    Let's see. If you were advising someone who wanted to attract business to his website and he ran a plumbing company in Waukesha, Wisconsin, what key words would you want to rank highly for? If you don't name "waukesha" and "plumbing" in your top 3 three key words, then I would probably not hire you for my SEO work. Ranking for the plumber's own name is secondary (or even lower) since he really wants to find someone looking for a plumber, not someone looking for him. The former is like using the yellow pages and the latter is like using the white pages of the phone book. Who wants to limit their marketing to people who are already looking for them?

    If your client's competitor had the foresight or luck to choose a name that had your client's top key words, would you completely cede those key words and choose key words that were much less relevant to your client's business, or would you try to still rank your client's website for the most appropriate key words?

    Now, if your client's key words are "waukesha" and "plumbing", what is one of the oldest and still best ways to let the search engines know what his site is about? The answer I see repeatedly and have done very well with is, "Get a domain name with the key words in it." If the .com is not available, the common recourse is to get a URL with another TLD.

    Next, for your client to rank well for his key words, one of the basic SEO rules is to put the key words in the page title. Why should a plumber in Waukesha not put the words "waukesha" and "plumbing" in the title of his home page?

    Looking at huggy's competitor's actual page, it seems he has done all the basic SEO steps. Following basic SEO steps is not stealing huggy's name. Huggy has a great business name for SEO purposes, but that does not give him exclusivity with respect to the words "waukesha" and "plumbing."

    I think trying to push huggy's competitor off the front page is the wrong approach and will be difficult to achieve. Huggy would be much better off concentrating his efforts on his own SEO to maintain his #1 ranking for his key words.

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