No one is safe
In light of Memorial Day weekend, the new gTLD .democrat entered general availability earlier this week. Registrants have been acquiring second-level .democrat domain names since the gTLD’s landrush period began April 17. Rightside, the registry offering the gTLD, does not have any protection mechanisms designed to protect the names of politicians at this time.
One of the most interesting second-level domains acquired during landrush was clinton.democrat, which wasn’t acquired by Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton. The Whois record for the domain lists Jared Mollenkamp of “Politically Correct Personal Computers” in Topeka, Kan., as the registrant. The Clintons are arguably one of the most famous families in recent political history, and the Clinton name carries extreme notoriety, especially considering Hillary’s potential candidacy in the 2016 Presidential election. The “clinton” string has been registered in 22 new gTLDs so far, including clinton.center, clinton.watch, and clinton.sexy. Currently, the clinton.guru domain name is being auctioned for $50,000, according to domain registry site godaddy.com. Domain names containing the names of other famous Democrats are still available, including kennedy.democrat, currently for sale at $1,499.
Clinton.democrat seems to be the only personal name of a politician in the new gTLD going into general availability that was clearly registered by an unrelated individual. Similar politician names have been snapped up since general availability opened May 21, such as kerry.democrat. Both obama.democrat and biden.democrat are registered, but the Whois search was unable to provide information pertaining to the registrant of these domain names.
The problem celebrities, public and political officials will encounter is that they generally do not have the same trademark protection mechanisms over their names as brand owners. Therefore, they are unable to take advantage of the protection mechanisms put in place by ICANN through the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) — e.g., Sunrise and Trademark Claims services — to prevent the unauthorized third-party registration of domain names identical to their names.
Individuals as well as brand owners need to be prepared for what is quickly becoming the new Wild West of the Internet. If you have an interest in a specific new gTLD, keep an eye out for its launch and availability — before someone else stakes a claim.
Guess that makes these gTLDs greenhorns
And these sunrise periods are riding off into the sunset
The following gTLDs entered sunrise in May, and will begin landrush within the next five to eight weeks.
Click here to view the table.
Headed to the new frontier
Some new gTLDs launching next week and entering their sunrise periods, such as .wtf and .fail, could be highly disparaging if used in association with brand trademarks. Brand owners should keep a close eye on these gTLDs. The full list of gTLDs launching next week:
Click here to view the table.
If any of these gTLDs could be of value to you or your brand, or are of concern — remember that, as a registered agent of ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse.