In a UDRP dispute decided Monday, the New Pig Corporation failed to take away the generic domain name pig.com after previously trying to buy it for $21,000. I'm hoping that the National Arbitration Forum decision bodes well for my own generic use of Wargames.Com.
New Pig owns a Pig trademark registered in 1987 for industrial absorbents used to clean oil spills.
The decision sheds some light on the money involved in parked pay-per-click search domains like the one currently at pig.com. Domain investor Adam Dicker bought the domain for $50,000.
To make its case look better, New Pig reportedly bid $2.74 per click so that it would show up in the top position on pig.com, which it then used in the UDRP complaint to claim the domain was trading on its mark.
Attorney John Berryhill, one of the small number of attorneys specializing in UDRP disputes, appears to have slaughtered New Pig in this case:
While the Complainant states that, on average, it spends $4M per year on unspecified promotion of its products, no documentation is provided for this assertion. The swine and pork industries dwarf the Complainant's sale of its specialized product, and it is reasonable to assume that the Panel members themselves were aware of the word "pig" prior to this dispute and, like the Respondent, had never heard of the Complainant or its products.
The Complainant now admits that the Complainant itself is responsible for the appearance of its own advertisement on the Respondent's webpage.
For a second I was confused when I saw the phrase "the swine and pork industries". I thought they meant the complainant and its attorneys.
I work for New Pig and helped out on this case.
I can picture a friend of mine seeing this story and saying, "You guys actually bid up your ranking on pig.com to help your case? Man, that's low."
To which I would say: No, no. That's what the other guy's lawyer SAID we did, because he found a high bid ceiling of ours online, but we place high bid ceilings ALL the time--before, during and after this case--to win searches including the word 'pig.' It's part of our web marketing.
My friend: And that landed you at the top of pig.com, and you tried to use it AGAINST the guy? No fair.
Me: What we said in our case was that the pig.com guy knew about New Pig before he bought pig.com, and that one sign of that was our appearance at the top of pig.com.
My friend: So you didn't make a special effort to be at the top of pig.com just to help you win the case?
Me: Correct. We had that ranking because we ALWAYS place high maximum bids. And those are bid CEILINGS. The $2.74 figure mentioned is the cost that we were willing to have our automated bids go UP to, if someone bids against us. Otherwise, we pay only enough to beat a competing bid.
Everything that I'm saying is in the decision. I'm just trying to put it in words that I would use with a friend.
Rogers C--I'm not familiar with your case, but good luck and may justice prevail in your Wargames.com case.
I hope that when you say "may justice prevail," it means "may you beat MGM's attorneys like Tyson beat Spinks."
we place high bid ceilings ALL the time--before, during and after this case--to win searches including the word 'pig.' It's part of our web marketing. ... We had that ranking because we ALWAYS place high maximum bids.
If someone from New Pig wants to send me your complaint and additional material, I'll read it and write another entry about what I think. Regarding the ad issue, I'm skeptical of New Pig's claim to use aggressive keyword marketing because of something I checked yesterday: If you search Google for the term "pig," there isn't a single ad bought by New Pig or anyone else.
The comments above, purportedly from a New Pig employee, do not address the fact that as soon as the response in this case was filed, the PPC bid disappeared.
We specifically asked the Complainant to state when the $2.74 bid was made. In response, the Complainant had many things to say, including blaming it on some other company, but did not say when the bid was placed. What's interesting is that New Pig claimed in its filings that it engaged an outside contractor for its PPC listings, but now we have someone claiming that it is done in house. This leads me to believe that either we do not have a New Pig employee here, or that someone needs to make up their mind about what constitutes reality.
The post above also does not explain how the outside contractor just happened to change its mind about the PPC bid at the exact time after we had submitted the response, and shown the bid amount.
Also, everyone understands the point about the bid being a ceiling. Having a ceiling bid of $2.74 when the next highest bid is capped at twenty five cents still makes no sense. What it does do, however, is to make sure your ad stays on top. Nobody said you were paying 2.74 - the point was about the size of the bid in relation to others.
Finally, that link wasn't "a reason" why you claimed that Mr. Dicker intentionally targeted your company - it was the only reason. And it was a reason that existed solely due to your actions. Mr. Dicker has registered a Noah's Ark of animal domain names. That is plainly apparent to anyone. Mr. Dicker also has never had any need of, or exposure to, industrial oil absorbent products. How many readers of this blog have ever heard of New Pig, or would believe that the primary motivation of a guy with a bunch of other animal domain names would arise from some obscure industrial product?
The point is, and the truth is, Mr. Dicker registered the domain name because it is the name of a popular animal. He paid $50,000 dollars for it, and had never heard of New Pig. The proceeding was an attempt to persuade a panel of something which was simply not true and to deprive someone of an asset for which he had paid a good deal of money to own.
The real kicker, IMHO, was the allegation that his refusal to sell the domain name for 25K, when he had already paid 50K to own it, was evidence of "bad faith". That claim was, to put it bluntly, retarded.
Roger, you are correct about the disappearance of "pig" from bidded keyword PPC results.
They quit doing it when we filed the response.
Your skept-o-meter works fine.
"purportedly from a New Pig employee"
To investigate this, simply enter "Keith Eldred New Pig" in Google.
"did not say when the bid was placed."
We didn't directly answer the Respondent's timeline question because it's irrelevant. No one involved with our keyword bidding had any knowledge of this arbitration.
"now we have someone claiming that it is done in house."
I guess this statement is because I said *we* place bids. To clarify: We (New Pig) place bids (using an outside contractor who had no knowledge of this arbitration).
"a reason that existed solely due to your actions."
This is the Respondent's claim. Our response is: Untrue. No one involved with our keyword bidding had any knowledge of this arbitration.
"The real kicker, IMHO, was the allegation that his refusal to sell the domain name for 25K, when he had already paid 50K to own it, was evidence of "bad faith". That claim was, to put it bluntly, retarded."
Our original complaint stated our offer, a healthy amount; we didn't know what the Respondent had paid until that was stated in the return filing. Does that still make it a retarded claim?