If You Can’t Beat Them, Domain-Squat Them?

namecheap

A Utah-based signage software company has taken the interesting and questionable step of buying and registering the unused domain suffixes of many key competitors.

TruDigital has a variety of .biz, .info, .org, .net and .us domains for a pile of companies, including The Marlin Company, BroadSign, Real Digital Media, Four Winds Interactive, Wondersign, MVIX, Elo, Rise Vision, Cenique, 11Giraffes, Industry Weapon and Viewsonic.

The company does not have Stratacache.us, which makes me sad … because I’d like to see CEO Chris Riegel react to this sort of thing.

I’m not a lawyer (you may have already known that), so I have no idea whether this is a something that crosses a legal line on things like trademarks, or is just questionable form. One term often used to describe the activity is domain squatting.

I do know there are some people who run these companies who are not impressed. Got the emails. Saw the tweets. Right now, the links I tried all go to placeholder sites like NameCheap. I didn’t find anything that would send a person looking for one company instead to this Utah company, using a redirect of the URL.

But why else would this company have these domains?

My take: it’s perhaps better to win business based on the quality of product and service, not through what would politely called monkey business.

I’ve asked, and would welcome an email from someone senior at TruDigital explaining what it is up to.

 

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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4 Comments

  • Ken Goldberg says:

    They will undoubtedly get more web site visits from your post than from their silly tactic, which will make them feel validated in a desperate kind of way. They could have used all the money they spent to buy those unused domains to buy really nice dunce caps for their management team.

  • I agree with Ken, this is very misguided. My guess is that Trudigital is looking to increase their site traffic through server-side redirects. This is a very bad idea and it will ultimately backfire on them. Google’s Panda algorithm is designed to detect this kind of activity and it penalizes domains for this behavior.

    Anyone can buy a domain if it’s available, so legally there’s no issue, and I don’t believe any of the companies involved have anything to worry about as long as they pay attention to their primary URLs. Secondary URLs such as .info have no real value.

  • Indeed a shameful tactic! In an industry with such a healthy competition… why bother with a low-level shenanigans like these?

    While we are flattered to see them use our brand name to associate themselves… such infringements have never helped a single company/brand or product.

    Why not make good products, serve the customer honestly, do it well… and get a life!?

  • Jeremy Gavin says:

    One of my first clients of my company was the National Arbitration Forum and I built the first online tools for the up and coming Domain Name Dispute industry so learned a lot about this.
    In a case like this the companies can file an arbitration claim to get the domains (as the domains include their brand names) and will likely have success. Here is a link to file http://www.adrforum.com/domains . Takes a bit to-do, but should have good success. Trudigital will only open themselves up for more hurt if they put them in use beyond just owning them.

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