It has been reported that priority “sunrise” domain name registrations in the new ‘.sucks’ top-level domain will cost trademark owners a whopping $2,499 per domain per year. After the sunrise period, the price for a company to register a ‘.sucks’ domain based on its trademark will evidently remain at $2,499 via a “super premium” pricing scheme, whereas non-company affiliated registrations (i.e. those likely to be used for a gripe site) will be a mere $9.95. The message seems to be clear: Vox Populi Registry is hoping to cash in on fearful companies who will view shelling out $2,499 for the “trademark.sucks” domain name as an ounce of prevention (or two ounces at today’s gold prices).
The sunrise period for ‘.sucks’ is scheduled to run from March 30 to May 29, 2015. Trademark owners must first record their trademark registrations in the Trademark Clearinghouse to be eligible for sunrise registrations. Fish & Richardson has been closely following the launch of the new generic top-level domain names and can assist upon request.
Several companies obtained defensive domain name registrations in the ‘.xxx’ top-level domain a few years ago. However, ‘.xxx’ launched before the current avalanche of 1,000 or more new top-level generic domains, and it remains to be seen if ‘.sucks’ will have any traction. Faced with the ‘.sucks’ “shake down,” companies may wish to think twice before rotely rushing to obtain their “trademark.sucks” domains. There will always be potential gripe sites, and trying to corner the ‘.sucks’ TLD won’t prevent others from creating other gripe sites or those sites being easily found in an Internet search.