Domainmonster.com Domain Editorials
Facebook File Comprehensive Domain Lawsuit
How many times have you accidentally typed in a misspelling of Facebook when you’re trying to find the social networking site and found yourself somewhere totally different? I know I have at least a few times. This could be a thing of the past however, as it seems that Facebook have finally got round to some spring cleaning and have filed a law suit against 25 named domain holders, and 119 domain registrants that at this time are unknown.
Some of the offending domains covered in the suit include ffacebook.com, faecbook.com and faceboook.com. Previously Facebook have used Uniform Dispute Resolution Proceedings in order to recover a number of domains, including facebook.ie, facebook.me and facebok.com. The defendants in the current lawsuit are from a variety of different countries, with 8 having their addresses based in the US, and further addresses in Hong Kong, Mexico, Thailand and the UK. The guilty Registrants include Limited Companies, Limited Liability Companies and private individuals.
I have fallen foul of faceboook.com myself before and this particular domain is featured prominently in the law suit; the suit covers about 126 domains in total. Although the page has now been removed, previously when you navigated to the site it displayed a replica of the login screen with an alert telling you that you were a "Facebook Winner!". Anyone who has ever been to facebook.com would have stopped at this point and checked their spelling (which I did, and still had to look hard at my typo!) but the replica page would have been enough to confuse some less experienced users.
Typically this is exactly how Typosquatters make their money. If a site looks similar enough to the correctly spelled equivalent, people either don’t realise they’re not looking at the correct site, or they assume because the domain is similar, and the site is identical, that it is approved by Facebook, or other targeted organisation, in some way. Lots of these particular typo domains then contained content that looked similar to the paid advertising that Facebook utilises on the right hand panel of the members area, which then provided the Typosquatters with their source of revenue.
Within their official lawsuit, Facebook are requesting not only that the domains are awarded to them, but they also request that they want all of the money that the typo domains have made, with triple damages and punitive damages in addition. This is expected to be in excess of $100,000 per domain name in total, and this is without compensation for attorney’s fees. It has also been asked that the court issue an injunction to all offending registrants to prevent them from registering any further domains that infringe on Facebook’s trademarks.
I think it’s a given that there will be lots of worried registrants as Facebook clearly mean business. Going through the list of domains that are mentioned in the lawsuit it seems many have already had the good sense to cease all activity against the domains – after all, every little helps! If you have any Facebook related domains that are being used in bad faith, now might be the time to relinquish them gracefully!