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Should You Buy Branded Domains?

Should You Buy Branded Domains?

Should you build niche sites that target branded keywords in the domain? I’ve been meaning to address this topic for a long time.  I’ve been asked by several people whether or not buying domains with brand name keywords in it is a good idea.  For example, homedepotcoupons.com is an example of a branded domain.  Home Depot is a well known brand; so is it okay to use their name in your domain?

For a long time I never bought a single branded domain.  Then about a year ago, I decided to give it a shot.  After all, there are TONS of keyword opportunities in this arena.  Just take any brand and add the word “coupon” or “review” and its likely a keyword phrase that gets a decent amount of searches (depending on how big the brand is).

And better yet, these are often easy to rank for keywords.  Many times the brands themselves are not optimized for these keywords.  So, in the past year, I’ve ranked very well (including several #1 spots) for branded keywords.  However, there is a BIG downside – and to me its just no longer worth the risk.  You will have to decide for yourself.

The Downside of Buying Branded Domains

The big downside?  You can get a Cease and Desist request and be forced to hand over the domain at any time.  Ouch!

So, if you have any sort of brand name in your domain, you can be asked or even forced, to transfer or delete the domain or be threatened with legal action.  So, if you were earning anything from that site, you can kiss those earnings goodbye.

As mentioned, I only started buying branded domains about a year ago.  But I’ve probably already received a dozen requests to remove domains that I have purchased.  I’ve readily complied, and overall, it hasn’t been a big deal as far as handing over the domains.  Here is the typical process when the company’s legal counsel asks you to stop using a domain name:

  1. You get an email OR letter in the mail with lots of threatening and scary legal jargon basically saying that they own the rights to the brand name and you need to stop using it at once.
  2. The letter or email requests you to delete the domain or transfer it to their domain registration account
  3. You delete or transfer the domain to them.
  4. Once the domain has been removed or transferred, you simply email them to say its done.
  5. They respond with a thank you or you never hear from them again.
  6. That’s it.

Example of a Cease and Desist Letter

So, the cease and desist letter can sound scary, but from my experience the process is fairly painless.  Here is an email that I got yesterday from the legal counsel for Southwest Airlines asking me to stop using a domain (I removed certain parts of the letter like domain name and other details:

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.

Raghu Seshadri
Attorney

General Counsel Department
P.O. ————
Dallas, TX 75235-1611
PHONE: (214) 7——–
FAX:  (214) 7——-
E-mail: legal@m———

20-Aug-2012

Re: Registration of “southwest——.com” as a Domain Name
Dear ——— LLC:

Southwest Airlines Co. and/or its affiliates (“Southwest”) is the owner of the well-known trademark and trade name SOUTHWEST.  As you are no doubt aware, SOUTHWEST is a trademark used to identify products, services, activities and events related to Southwest.

You have registered, without Southwest‘s permission or authorization, the domain name ‘southwest——–.com’.  The Domain Name incorporates the famous SOUTHWEST mark and suggests Southwest‘s sponsorship or endorsement of your website.

In view of Southwest‘s rights to the trademark SOUTHWEST, we ask that you immediately discontinue any and all use of the Domain Name.

In light of the foregoing, please be advised that should you fail to immediately discontinue such use, Southwest will vigorously pursue all remedies and actions available, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, and Southwest will seek recoupment of all expenses associated with such actions, including attorneys’ fees and costs.  Of course, Southwest would prefer to not be forced to take such measures, however, if it is so compelled, then Southwest will protect its interests to the fullest extent of the law.  Finally, please be advised that Southwest will continue to monitor such improper activities, and if you continue, in any way, to use Southwest’s intellectual property, Southwest will immediately institute all legal remedies available to it.

Should you require additional information or wish to further discuss this issue, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.

As soon as I received this email, I went into my Godaddy account and deleted the domain.  I responded to the email that the domain had been deleted.  Now the process is over.

As scary as this email sounds, this is actually one of the more tame ones.  I’ve received overnight packages requiring my signature that had dozens of pages of legal jargon and copies of legal precedence cases that made it sound like I was in big trouble if I didn’t co-operate immediately.  Of course, I did cooperate – but some of these legal counsel people really go overboard.  A simple email would suffice!

Anyway, after being through the process several times, I’ve decided its NOT worth buying branded domains!  I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone buy a domain name with a brand name in it.  The risk is just too great of losing that domain.  And although very slight, there still is the chance that an over-ambitious legal counsel could decide to pursue real legal action.  That’s not something that anyone in this business wants to deal with.

So, at this point, I am letting all my branded names expire and will not be renewing them.  Sure this closes the door on lots of keyword opportunities, but it also closes the door on lots of negative consequences.

I will also point out that you never know when you will be asked to take down your domain.  I’ve been contacted within a couple of weeks of registering a domain. Or like the request I received yesterday from Southwest Airlines, I had owned the domain for about 10 months.  So, even if you think you are “in the clear” after a few months – that may not be entirely true.

Alternatives to Using Brand Name Domains

If you still want to target keywords that include brand names like “Red Robin Coupons” or whatever, you still can!  Why not just create a unique domain name like: MrHawsCoupons.com or FunkyMonkeyReviews (hopefully you can come up with something better than this)?  So, your domain may not include a specific keyword, but then each of the pages CAN target branded or non-branded keywords.  You can title your page: Home Depot Coupons, or Red Robin Discount all you want without fear of receiving a cease and desist letter.  The legal issue arises when you buy the domain – just mentioning a brand on your site is no reason to be targeted by a legal counsel.

Sure you might not get the boost that having a keyword in the domain would give you, but in this way you can still target lots of branded keywords all on one site (one keyword per post).  And you can do so without the fear of getting a scary sounding letter asking you to remove your domain.

What Do You Think?

So, I tested the waters the past year of buying branded domains.  I was able to rank for lots of keywords, but I was also asked by lots of companies to take my domains down.  For me, its just not worth the risk anymore – there are plenty of other keywords that I can target.  What are you thoughts on the subject?  Will you still be targeting branded keywords?  If you have any experience in this area, I would love to hear your comments!

70 Comments for this Post

  1. Alex

    Alex

    Spencer,

    Great article here — I too avoid branded keywords. I once created a website as a community for fans of a professional football team fanatics.com, and the team’s legal folks sent me a kind letter in the mail asking me to take it down.

    At the time that I created this site (years ago), I was about 14 years old with no harmful intent other then putting up a message board for fans to “water cooler talk.” Nonetheless, I took the site down the same day and never looked again at purchasing branded domain names.

    In my opinion, it’s not a question of if you’ll receive the letter to take the site down, but a better question is when you’ll receive it.

    All the best!
    -Alex

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Alex – I agree. Its no way to build a business. Even if you are just building a small niche site on a branded keyword – I still don’t think its worth the risk.

  2. Herb

    Herb

    When they ask you to transfer the domain to their account, do they compensate you for it?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No. Its free to transfer the domain to them. If they have to pay to register the domain, they will do so on their end.

    • Adam

      Adam

      Often it is very rare that a company will compensate you when you are served with a C & D letter as they assume you are already infringing on their rights.

      Spencer is correct though that you can typically push/transfer the domain name free of charge to the account if they exist on the same registrar.

      I have seen some instances where they require you to push it to another registrar which ends up costing you fees in the end.

  3. Artur Ciesielski

    Artur Ciesielski

    I would never buy or use a trademarked domain. There is too much risk and I would not want someone else to use my trademarks, but being called on using a common geographic term like ‘southwest’ is ridiculous, even if it happens to be the name of an airline.

  4. Austin

    Austin

    Toyota v. Tabari set a precedent for nominative fair use of trademarks in domain names [ http://bit.ly/PuDJG9 ]. The bottom line is that you aren’t misleading customers and aren’t claiming affiliation with the trademark owner you are probably OK.

    One of the most mind bending examples of this that I have seen is the National Association of Realtors not letting their own members use Realtor in their domains.

    We used to get DMCA requests just because of article content, both directly and to my hosts, from movie production houses and the WWF. We always thought they were totally bogus claims that didn’t have any chance of holding up in court.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The Toyota v Tabari case is interesting. Thanks for sharing…

      • JoesphBroan

        JoesphBroan

        Hi Spencer

        It might be cool to link to that in the article as well? as i know not everybody reads the article.

        Anyway if you apply that judgement to this situation then it suggests that whilst

        southwestairlinecheapflights.xxx implies an ownership by Southwest airlines and look a potential problem.

        cheapflightsonsouthwestairlines.xxx could be just fine.

        very interesting.

        regards

  5. Mike From Maine

    Mike From Maine

    Spencer,

    I have to disagree with you. I buy branded domains all the time and only rarely do I get cease and desist letters (about 3% of the time). You’re right about the fact that if you get a cease and desist letter it’s pretty much over for that domain, but the advantages out weigh this annoyance. What are the advantages of using branded domains?

    1. They are easier to rank for since you’re using a branded domain that most people shy away from using.

    2. With the brand in the domain people are more likely to click on the url when searching in Google. More searches equals more money.

    3. Brand name domains are more likely to be available when doing keyword research. I’ve even found one-word brand keywords before and I haven’t had trouble with them yet.

    All that being said I totally understand your argument. It would totally suck to build a huge site around a brand name keyword and then have to take it down. Brand name domains are risky, but the reward is great!

    Great topic :-)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey Mike – I definitely understand your points. That’s why I started buying branded domains in the first place. However, everyone needs to decide for themselves if the risk is worth the potential rewards. I’ve decided for myself…but I understand your points!

      • Joe Magnotti | AdSense Flippers

        Joe Magnotti | AdSense Flippers

        Yeah, i have to agree with Mike here. Probably 40% of our domains contain a brand and we and literally lost less than 1% of them due to C&D letters. In my book that’s a good bet.

        • JoesphBroan

          JoesphBroan

          Joe

          thats a severe edit you did to your original robust resposne !! How can you post publish edit after an hour or so? us lowely ones cant!!!

          respect on your work at adsenseflippers

  6. claudio

    claudio

    Branded domains are a risk, I have received a dozen also until i stopped buying them over 2 years ago. My VPS with 60 domains got shut down, I never received the warning email as it went to my spam folder. It took couple of days until I was able to fix it.

    I do know a person got sued and brought to court for a domain like msnfreedownload (adsense site), for 1 million. Later they settled for couple thousands.

  7. Tipjar

    Tipjar

    Wait, so Southwest Airlines has the trademark/copyright for the word “Southwest” – as in, it owns a direction lol. Wow.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yeah, that seems like a bit much…

  8. Sunil l Expedited Wealth Building

    Sunil l Expedited Wealth Building

    interesting question Spencer.

    the most compelling reason to do so in my eyes is to establish a niche site and attempt to profit from ads/commissions (i.e. amazon sales).

    given the direction search engines are headed, I too am with you in that I don’t feel these are worth the hassle and potential consequences down the road.

  9. Bradley C.

    Bradley C.

    Here’s a story for you…

    About 3 years ago, I purchased a branded domain and turned it into an Amazon affiliate site. After about 6 months of regular backlinking, my branded site ranked #2 for the main keyword. I was making some serious money at that point (about 1k per month on average).

    Then, it got really interesting. One day, I looked at my analytics and start seeing spikes. My site was starting to bouce up to the #1 position. Then, it hit #1 and the traffic started pouring in. My income from that site jumped substantially.

    Then, I got the dreaded e-mail. It was the marketing department (not an attorney). They wanted me to take down my site. I thought, “Hmmmm… It wouldn’t hurt to try to reason with them a little… The worst they would say is no, right?”

    So, I explained to them that I was huge fan of their product (I really was, and it’s why I wrote my own content for the site), and the purpose of the site was to promote their product, making sure to stress the fact that I was making money for them by selling their product.

    They, said, “Alright. Just post this disclaimer on your site in a spot where your visitors can see it.” They sent me the exact text to post, which was simply a paragraph stating that my site was not affiliated with the company. I did as they asked. They never bothered me again.

    The moral of the story: It never hurts to ask. Yes, I know that I got lucky. If I had received a letter from an actual attorney, I probably wouldn’t have gotten so lucky. But, I could have just freaked out and taken the site down when first confronted… but instead, I stated my case and explained that I was making them a lot of money (appealed to their greedy side)… and it worked!

    • Tipjar

      Tipjar

      Good story, I’ll definitely try this if I ever get served a C&D.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Interesting experience! I think any domain earning good money is certainly worth fighting for…nice!

  10. Daniel

    Daniel

    LOL LOL LOL I’ve bought xxxxxxSOUTHWEST.net few minutes before I’ve read your article :(

    Now am not sure if its’ even worth adding extra 10 bucks for article/backlinking :)

    Thanks for information.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I guess you’ve been warned now :(

  11. Nate

    Nate

    Its a tough situation for me personally. A few months ago I found 3 super easy niches that require me to use branded names in all my domain names. I have created dozens of these sites and usually rank in the top 3 on Google within a few days. In just a month these sites increased my earnings by $1,000 per month. I havn’t received any cease and desist letters yet but I’m sure receiving a few is inevitable. Its just so temping to keep creating them as its sooo easy to rank with them.

    • Nate

      Nate

      Wow…I just received a Cease and Desist e-mail from Hardee’s at the precise time I was writing that comment. LOL absolutely mind blowing!

  12. paul

    paul

    just bought my 1st branded domain lol wish i knew this info before lol…anyhow ill continue with the site set up and see what happens, its for a fairly popular product however search volume is quite good and easy to rank using ltp to analyze top 10. lets see, maybe i will put a disclaimer in there

  13. jaydee

    jaydee

    hmmmm … I’m a little nervous about Branded domains myself, even though I’ve never received a C&D.

    What about the thousands of “xxxx-iPad-xxxx.com” sites that are out there? (I own one a branded iPad site that reviews iPad accessories) … how come Apple doesn’t go after them ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Some companies choose to pursue action against branded domains, and others don’t. Apple may just go after certain types of infringement.

  14. Jenny

    Jenny

    Thanks for bringing this issue up Spencer. I’ve just bought a domain with the brand name in the title and am adding my own content (as I’m a fan). I might try putting the disclaimer in the footer section!
    At least it won’t come as a shock if I receive a letter like that now so thanks ;-)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You’re welcome! Hope it works out well…

  15. Mat Newton

    Mat Newton

    I’ve gotten about 10 in my time. At one point I was getting one a week.

    I noticed a gaping whole in one industry where a group of brands all offered a certain service – let’s say it’s car loans – and none of them had BRANDcarloans.com

    So I went off and registered every single brand I could find in the niche and in some cases took #1 spot. It got me to $2000 a month but after all the C&Ds, three Adsense bans (Google Adsense reaaaallllly doesn’t like it) and Penguin I am down to $400 a month. :) Luckily I always had the sites on business accounts – not my main account – otherwise that could have gotten messy.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Matt – thanks for sharing…definitely interesting to hear other’s experiences.

  16. JamieH

    JamieH

    Hi Spencer,

    You right to advocate the avoidance of branded names in domain names. To use them is a risk.

    Some believe putting your domain into webmaster tools is a risk as is putting adsense ads above the fold.

    My point is this “business” has risk and I for one consider black hat “nothatseo” domain purchasing for back link building and PR manipulation to be a much higher algorithmic risk. I predict the destruction of that model within 6 months or the next penguin update. Matt Cutts has clearly announced the next round of changes will be much worse than the last.

    Joe responded on behalf of his business and that’s my experience as well.

    I was and remain stunned that you “outed” a niche! That was iimpolite to people working in that area. Would you normally disclose your profitable niches and draw attention to them on a well know and read blog!

    Your direction seems to be away from great content based on POSTIVE experiences. A return to the old ways would be much better.

    Arbel’s article is one of the best for some time.

    A “fan” and somebody that truly appreciates what you have contributed to the field in the past

    the blog
    the revenue reports
    the studies
    LTpro – so much better than any other tool – currently A-

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Glad I’m at an A – !

      I’m not sure what you mean about me “outing” a niche. Do you mean that I mentioned branded domains – or coupons? Wasn’t my intention to bring any attention to a specific niche…

      Thanks for sticking around…I still might have a few home run articles left in me :)

      • JamieH

        JamieH

        Yep, we dont need the attention. Its a high risk but huge reward niche :-0

        Well get over it.. Id advocate not drawing attention to a type of niche. I know you;d not be happy with us reverse engineering you best niche and competing with you.

        Of course if you’d like to “out” it we’d be more than happy :-) lol..

        regards and the best wishes

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          My bad, wasn’t trying to draw attention to any niche – just threw out a random keyword with no thought put into it.

  17. Sheyi | ivblogger.com

    Sheyi | ivblogger.com

    I’d tell em ‘kiss my ass’.

    I’m a Nigerian, if i should register such domain name, i will let them know southwest aint registered in nigeria here so if they need it, pay me and i’ll drop and if not, bring me to usa and take me to court.

    It’s good the way you let it go!

    Sheyi

  18. Steve

    Steve

    Here’s the most compelling story along these lines.
    A man named Uzi Nissan buys a domain name for his family computer business. A car company named Datsun changes their name to Nissan.
    What do you think happened next?

  19. Ralph | Niche Websites

    Ralph | Niche Websites

    I try to avoid it too.

    It would be heartbreaking if you spend a lot of time and money to build a website and then get a nasty letter…

    Gone all the hard work (that is if you actually broke even).

    We put in our records that no affiliate can use our branding name in their affiliate efforts or in their adwords campaigns.

    This is actually pretty standard practise in The Netherlands.

  20. Steven Smith

    Steven Smith

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but I saw a lot of Spencer’s domains and a lot of them we true keywords and legitimate websites.

    A big contrast to the AdsenseFlipper guys who have websites that don’t even have content:

    example: {removed link}

    or with super aggressive ad placements:

    {removed link}

    • James Hanson

      James Hanson

      Wow, assumption not. Maybe the site didnot get developed, maybe the content ws removed.

      I dont consider that to be agressive. I get why you might not want to do it but why are people slagging off and showing other peoples sites!!

      WTF is happening.

      And can we see some of your sites please :-0 I bet you dont have the balls to do that.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Steven – please don’t share websites. I actually don’t know if those are their sites anyway. I respect what the AdsenseFlippers do, and they build legitimate sites.

  21. Hayden

    Hayden

    I used to keep branded domain names on a separate Adsense account, but now I just avoid them completely. I’m not afraid of being sued, I usually just ignore the C&D letters (of which I’ve gotten dozens). I used to comply but then realized it’s way more effort for them to actually follow through.

    The real problem is that you make money from branded domains based on customers thinking you represent the brand. Aside from being morally questionable, this creates insane CTRs from people thinking your adsense is your navigation. These high CTRs lead to 0 sales because generally users are searching for a way to complain about your company, or looking for a job at your company. High CTRs plus 0 conversions for Adwords advertisers = the dreaded “invalid clicks” Adsense account ban.

    If you create a non-branded version of the domain, you won’t make any money because it will be clear to customers that you aren’t the brand.

    But for me really the issue is that it is an unethical thing to do, and whatever profits you get from it are short-lived. The only exception I have is when a domain is branded after a B2B business. IE ToyotaCorollaReviews or AudiParts.com – customers will know you’re not the actual business, and you will never receive a C&D. This is still against Adsense guidelines, so you’d want to keep it on a separate account.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Excellent points Hayden! The moral dilemma is perhaps the bigger question that I should have brought up. When it comes down to it, I just don’t feel good about piggy-backing off a companies brand.

    • JonnyLittle

      JonnyLittle

      Nohat other than black and you have moral issue with building off a brand name.. wow.

      Ok back the real issues

      can you link to the google guidleines document in the adsnes area which prohibits the use of a brand name.

      I still believe that wesellnissancars.xxx is not a violation of anything and most certain will not be against adsense policy.

      Let us know

    • Bobby

      Bobby

      ToyotaCorollaReviews or AudiParts.com

      How is this against their guidelines?

  22. Mohit

    Mohit

    Hi Spencer,

    My very first website targeted one of the biggest brands on the earth. :-) However, I was lucky to have a friend like you who reviewed it and told me to avoid putting more work into it.

    He himself had received a notice of $40000 for a domain name violating the trademark of a brand in his earlier days with Adsense sites.

    That website is still active in my name, but I’ve never updated it from then on. Thinking to let it expire this year as it’s earning me only few cents per month now.

  23. Peggy

    Peggy

    If you are truly trying to create an online business and full-time income that is built on rock, you would not go down the road of violating trademarked business names. Why would anyone waste their time and efforts on such short-sightedness?

    Build your own brand and your own business. You’ll never have to worry about violating another company’s trademarks, or violating Google’s terms or anyone else’s terms. And your efforts will not be wiped out in a moments notice. Of course this requires work, something that most folks in IM want anything to do with.

  24. Keith

    Keith

    I had this issue with a non branded domain as well, which was a lesson to always check trademarks for any niche sites I build. Here is my story:

    I decided I wanted to build a website that would offer products (in the home improvement industry) to homeowners that could be drop shipped directly to them from the manufacturer, thus cutting out any need to carry inventory, and I would get paid up front for the product(s).

    This products was generic, and I wanted to incorporate the word “buy” into my domain. So, imagine it was windows (it wasn’t but you see my point), I went looking for buywindows.com domains, I found “buy-windows.com”, I bought it, put my products up, started building links, adding fresh content, etc… and within a few months I was making good money, over $30k in the first 6mos!

    Then I got the dreaded letter to cease from the owners of “buywindows.com” who had apparently got a trademark the same month I started.

    I called an attorney who pretty much said I was screwed and couldn’t win in court. My issue was they wanted me to turn over my domain to them, which outranked them across the board!

    The attorney informed me they would have a long drawn out battle to get the domain, and if I removed my products they would probably leave me alone. So I did that and put adsense on the site. I haven’t touched it in over 2yrs and it still makes a decent income, only a fraction of the products, but nonetheless I got to keep it.

    Check trademarks even on non branded domains!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for sharing! Excellent points and very interesting experience. Not a fun experience, but underscores the importance of checking for trademarks, even perhaps where you wouldn’t expect to see one.

  25. Tommy Smith

    Tommy Smith

    Spencer,
    What a great article and comments. Very timely for me as I was wondering about that due to a domain name that fell in my lap from a past client. I started monetizing it and have wondered about the possibility of a C&D letter. I thought about getting a domain name that is similar to that one but not trademarked. Then build it up and cross link it to the other one. If/when I get a C&D letter, do a quick redirect for all the traffic to the articles to the secondary one while emptying the homepage of the trademarked one. Then in a few days (or weeks?), shut the trademarked one down. Seems like that would be better than just shutting it down immediately. Any thoughts pro or con on preparing that “plan b”? Thanks!

  26. James

    James

    Hey Spencer –

    The legal issue doesn’t only arise when you use the keyword in the domain. It also arises when you use the keywords or their domain name with your page as well. You have to be careful. If you are targeting anything that is copyrighted or trademarked in your domain or any of the content on your website you put yourself at risk. I know as I handle this kind of thing for my company and we send out C&D letters all the time.

    Anyways you’ve given some sound advise Spencer. Definitely don’t buy branded domain names. It isn’t worth the hassle and working with lawyers. They can be very difficult some times!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Interesting. Although, I would find it much less likely that a company would issue a C&D letter just for a post on a blog. If they did, you would be able to take down the one post, rather than an entire site. Interesting to hear though that your company and others would target individual posts like that. Thanks for sharing the inside scoop!

    • JonnyLittle

      JonnyLittle

      rubbish. read the law case from above.

      Ans i can write abou your brand reference your brand and most certinly can use you brand name in my articlesand in my URL’s

      Not the root domain but in the rest YES I can. Your just scaring folks that diont know.

      SHAME ON YOU DUDE.

      What your suggesting is i can write an article like this

      getgreatsavingson.com/james-brown-tractor-new-sales

      and on the page i talk about JamesBrownTractors.com I cant disrespect their brand in acurate reviews. I cant say go buy xyztractors.com instead as they are more reliable.

      I cant show a JamesBrownTractors photo *with correct credits or purchase”

      RUBBISH of course i can. I then in the bottom of the page declare I have no association with jamesbrowntractors that im not affilaited with them and their trademarks and copyrights are protected.

      I’d love to see the legal support for your C&D

    • Austin

      Austin

      @James,why would you send out a C & D for a post or page containing a brand name keyword? Imagine if a company would sue anyone who mentions their brand name in post titles – that company would remain unknown.

  27. Scott Frye

    Scott Frye

    Hi Spencer,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. In the course of my IM, i’ve registered 2 branded domains, and both of them were sent C&D letters. One took a couple years, but the second was just days after registration, before i even got the site up. The funny thing was that when I purchased the domain, I didn’t know it was a brand name, because it is so synonymous with the product, much like alot of people call “tissues” by the brand name “Kleenex”

    I agree that its the best policy to avoid these domains. Its easy enough for any legal department intern at a medium to large size company to be watching a google alert for their brand name, and send out the letters. Costs them nearly nothing, and in alot of cases they probably scare people into transferring the domain to them.

  28. Bobby

    Bobby

    Southwest Airlines, a name of a airline ok, but could they take, southwest trains as well?

    South west is a compass direction, how can they cliam that?

  29. Derick

    Derick

    I registered the domain SouthWest-Airlines a few years ago but I never got any C & D order.It was a 5 page niche site talking about SouthWest-Airlines and their services.I guess if you are the promoting their brand,they have no problem with that.However,I left the domain to expire because I had no plans for it.There are many examples of people who use a brand name properly for example AllFacebook.com, InsideFacebook.com,GoogleTutor.com.

  30. How to Choose a Domain Name that ROCKS!!!
  31. Dinny

    Dinny

    HI. Is $20,000 to much to spend on a domain name that has 5000 global monthly exact searches? That’s what a domain reseller wants to sell it for? It will make the site a big authority in its neiche though?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, way too much! Unless its a completely developed site and is earning money already.

  32. Tommy Craig

    Tommy Craig

    Hi, I’d also want to share my experience in buying domains. I bought my domains at domainka.com and I did not encounter any problem so far. So I guess I’m working it out on the right track, I’d also like to ask if ever a problem occur where can I ask for help? :)

  33. Nishant

    Nishant

    Hello Spencer,

    Could you please advise:
    onlinebrandmanager.com
    onlinebrandmanagers.com
    are two websites offering similar products and into similar business, whether can sue each other ?

    Also, If registering http://www.onlinebrandsmanagers.com will be advisable considering similar products & business line.? Will it attract any lawsuits.?

    Many Thanks
    Nishant

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, those are generic names – those don’t involve brands.

  34. James

    James

    Are product names trademarked and to be avoided as well as brand names? eg – brand name “Apple” product name “iPad”

    If it depends on the product, do you know of a way to check?

    Thanks

  35. Todd Grace

    Todd Grace

    Interesting. I own a lot of auto manufacturers names tagged with *****clothing.com. I recently started developing free sites offered by the registrar. The results are interesting but Im in too minds either to develop these into real sites or just recoup what Im into them and let them expire. Either way its been an interesting study.

  36. John Guaglianone

    John Guaglianone

    THANK YOU SPENCER !!

    GOD BLESS ALL of YOU, ALWAYS !!! ciao, Johnny

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