Game Company Beats Domain Squatter Today; Should Prepare For More Tomorrow

from the squatter's-paradise dept

When ICANN was in the process of reviewing the application for the new .xxx top-level domain, we were always wary about the idea. We reported that this was nothing but an extortion racket on businesses to force them to buy an expensive and unnecessary TLD for their trademark, for little else but to avoid being associated with porn. That prediction was dead on, as we saw universities rushed to buy up the .xxx versions of their .edu domains.

Then ICANN approved a new plan to allow even more unneeded and unwanted TLDs. Once the bidding process was in motion, we highlighted the sheer number of TLDs that were proposed. While many of these were directly related to certain companies, many were generic TLDs that any website owner might conceivably use. However, just as there are big problems with the .xxx TLD, we will see similar situations here. Companies will be forced to buy up domains in the fear that someone will use their trademarks for potentially nefarious purposes.

All this concern is based not on speculation but on reality, as one game developer Riot Games, the maker of the popular League of Legends game, has learned. Riot Games had recently won a dispute over a a domain squatter that was banking on people mistyping the League of Legends domain. This one was a fairly simple use of one of the current TLDs on the market: .co. The owner of the .co domain had set up the domain to show porn for anyone who mistakenly typed the wrong TLD. This activity is pretty much as old as the internet itself.

While Riot Games was able to win this one, it seems that we're going to be hearing a lot more stories of these kinds of fights once ICANN officially approves the new TLDs and they begin rolling out. The idea that companies are now going to have to keep checking and buying up their domains on all of these variations seems particularly ridiculous. Not only will it be time consuming and a waste of money, but it's unclear that there will be any value at all to these new domains.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    A nonny mouse, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 12:58am

    Value

    Of course there's value; ICANN are charging around $175,000 up front and $25,000 per year for each new TLD...

    ...

    Oh, you meant for everybody else...

    ...

    Never mind, carry on...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 1:18am

    The .co extension was a very poorly thought out idea, one that ICANN should never have approved. Basically, it's a great typo or confusion extension, because people may forget the M or my not notice the lack of an M in the address of a site, especially inside pages.

    This is one of those tlds that should never have been approved. It is proof that ICANN is about as greedy as everyone else, I guess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 1:21am

    I'd call it "patently" ridiculous, but then this is a different aspect of law than patents, so the pun doesn't quite work. Darn.

    Also, I'm sure that these companies could find some use for these .xxx sites. Perhaps they could host the inevitable porn parodies that always seem to spring up around any property, and thereby direct people to the original work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 1:27am

    Re:

    You took the words out of my mouth... :-) You have my Insightful vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 1:49am

    Oh god almighty...

    ....This article brings me back a fare few years ago. A freind of mine found a porn site looking up information about the White House. He used the TLD ".com" instead of ".gov". Yeah, explain that to the female computer lab teacher on duty....8th grade methinks ^_^

    More about TLD squatting here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting#Notable_cases

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 3:05am

    Whetever changes you made 404'd me for a bit but now it's better. PANIC MODE DISENGAGED

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 3:29am

    In my view the only TLDs that should exist are country (ie: .ch .br .nl etc) and very limited others such as .gov, .org and .com (and maybe .info for personal sites). Porn fits perfectly in the .com or .info categories. In the end all this does is make companies spend more money on useless stuff and provide a lot of space for scammers, phishing attacks and so on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re:

    "You took the words out of my mouth"

    Good, more room to put penises. *motions naked black guy over, starts filming*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Titania Bonham-Smythe (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 4:20am

    a a

    dispute over a a domain squatter

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Gene Poole, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 5:55am

    Re: Oh god almighty...

    See, and I had the opposite experience. While looking for the sickest Internet porn conceivable, I stumbled across the webcomic Goats and became a loyal fan for as long as Rosenberg ran the thing.

    Oh, Internet...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    Jay put it rather nicely with using .xxx with porn. I find it funny a game company bought the TLD though :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Nick Coghlan (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 6:41am

    The era of typing full domain names manually is over

    I've noticed lately that I almost never type out a full domain name manually. Instead, I will either:
    1. Start typing the domain, then choose the actual site from Firefox's internal history search
    2. Follow a link
    3. Do a Google search for the company name

    The only case where I even consider typing out the full URL is if I got it from an offline source, and even there I'm more likely to use a search for the core name rather than typing out the whole thing.

    Phones are also getting to the point where they can read a URL through the camera, without the assistance of a QR code.

    We also know that there are already *many* people that don't even use DNS for sites they visit regularly: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_google_failed_internet_meme.php

    On top of that, we can add the fact that for many "web applications" the tool we actually use to access it is a dedicated smartphone utility - the namespace is the name in the relevant app store, not the DNS host of the site itself.

    All ICANN is doing is hastening the conversion of DNS from a scheme that is a visible part of the main UI of the internet, to an abstraction layer over IP addresses that is used as a hint by search engines and a stable record for consumption by other software (such as other web services, client applications, browser history recording and automatic URL recognition tools)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    ICANN should be redundant by now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    2ndStep (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    "Then ICANN approved a new plan to allow even more unneeded and unwanted TLDs."

    What other options are there other than expanding the TLD address space? IPv4 is down to a few drops left and domain space is soon to follow if you limit it to things like .com, .net, .uk, .br, etc.

    The internet is expanding and the IP and domain spaces have to follow suit as well, otherwise it won't be able to grow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Jerry Berg, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    Legislation has to pass preventing extortion on trademark owners when it comes to TLDs. Especially with .XXX. Pornographers cannot be allowed to charge regular business owners hundreds of dollars (for just one name!) to block their company "or else". How has this even been able to continue?? Why is ICANN continuing to operate unchecked? Enough is enough with this garbage. Its time for congress to get involved already!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe riot games saw the popularity of LOL porn and wanted to cash in. :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Brent (profile), Aug 23rd, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Re:

    Seriously, you want Congress to get involved? Have you been reading this site lately? If Congress gets involved we'll have enough TLDs to have 'complete sentence' URLs instead of today's 'short phrase' URLs. It would be like Christmas for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

    Mistranslations

    One thing of note I just realized is that many webmail applications automatically translate yyyy.xx or yyyy.xxx to domain names based on ICANN country/TLD codes. With so many new codes coming online, you have a real potential for abuse, mistake, or just really crappy e-mails.

    For instance a friend just wrote me:
    I should.be there at 445.

    She mistakenly put the period in there, but gmail translated that to a valid domain. That domain might be malicious, or any number of issues remain. This will only increase as new top-level domains are added.

    Real potential for abuse and confusion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    spaidar man, May 29th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: Value

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Kim Oberoi, Jun 4th, 2013 @ 2:16am

    Random Question On This Topic ??

    How many games are made by Riot Games ????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This