Domain Name Confusion and Monetary Losses

UTube is not YouTubeBefore there was the Internet, there were mis-dialed phone numbers, which in turn wasted people’s time and money when they realized they were not the intended recipient of those phone calls.

As more and more people continue to cash in and use the Internet for their own benefit, more and more people will make those silly mistakes and mistype domain names, just like they’d have done if they dialed the wrong number.

Mistakes of this type happen often. Humans are ignorant and fallible.

The difference is often more costly on the Internet because bandwidth and server resources are not cheap, especially for thousands of simultaneous visitors.

It is no wonder that UTube.com (Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation) has decided to sue YouTube due to its excessive exposure during (and even after) the Google acquisition. Since Google and YouTube announced their alliance, Universal Tube has complained that it has been receiving over 70,000 unique visits per day, which has increased its bandwidth costs (previously at $100, now at $2500) and has caused the server to crash on multiple occasions.

TheSmokingGun has obtained copies of interesting communication that was sent through the pipe company’s “Contact Us” form, including the ironic one from “chesy cheese” that says

where r da videos? youtube rox man, but what heppen to videos?

On a similar note, Google has recently acquired AdSense after the original owners of AdSense, a marketing solutions company, got extremely frustrated with Google’s Adsense Program, even putting the following on their website:

If you think you can get rich quick placing other people’s ads on your site or blog, please contact Google who has taken and used our business name without permission or compensation.

Apparently, the Oregon-based Adsense, which bought the domain in 1996, also got slammed when Google’s ad service was launched in 2003. The consequences of Google’s advertisement system were costly for the smaller company (which has since moved to Adsense2.com). Until the issue was resolved, the company found itself spending the majority of business hours deleting Google Adsense emails and explaining to callers on the telephone that they are not affiliated at all with Google Adsense.

Whereas UTube.com, which can make up to $150,000 for a single sale, was able to initiate this lawsuit, the smaller company could not afford to pursue legal action at the time.

Meanwhile, these two domains are not the only ones with time-consuming and truly inconvenient domain name troubles. Delta Airlines ran into a similar issue (I still remember going to delta.com back in the day and not finding what I needed), and Uzi Nissan of Nissan.com is still fighting for his domain name.

Who should win in the end? The smaller companies seemed to have been first, and the bigger companies are either not compensating the smaller companies accordingly for heavy traffic and lost sales, perhaps because the bigger companies think they are “holier than thou.” That might explain the seemingly irrational steps of suing the underdog as in the case of Nissan.com.

There are always companies that want to profit due to another person’s mistake. However, these aforementioned companies would rather not opt-in for those clicks, rather choosing simply to have a thriving Internet presence. Yet their online business has been crippled because of competing names.

Should the larger companies compensate the smaller ones for the inconvenience — or should they offer to buy the domain name? Should the smaller companies allow the larger ones to buy the domain name in question, thereby sending the message that larger companies always win?

Should Google pay UTube.com because of the mistakes made by hundreds of thousands of people?? I’d say so.? While a lot of people have said that UTube.com should have placed video-related ads on their website to cash in on this erroneous domain name access, why should they have to change their appearance due to negligence and stupidity?? Their server would have gone down regardless of the presence of ads.

Tamar Weinberg is a hustler and juggler. She is the VP of Marketing at Ruxly Creative, a creative marketing agency. She's the Director of Sales at Internet Marketing Ninjas, a 100+ employee search engine marketing agency located in upstate New York. She also rocks global sales at financial media publication Wall St. Cheat Sheet. Finally, she is the Chief Strategy Officer of Small Business Trends. Oh wait, and she's also the community manager at Namecheap. Yeah, like a boss.

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