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Dot SUCKS: The Ultimate Vanity Domain

John Levine

When last we wrote, trademark lawyers had written an outraged letter to ICANN about the $2500 price to preregister trademark.sucks names, and ICANN, reliably panicking in the face of legal threats, wrote to the US Federal Trade Commission and Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs saying please tell us that's illegal so we can shut down this registry with whom we just signed a long-term contract. (The mysterious $1 surcharge turned out to be a weak attempt by ICANN to collect debts that affiliates of registry owner Momentous defaulted on long ago.)

Now they're back in the news, with a poorly researched Boston Globe article prompted by a NewYork.sucks billboard near Fenway Park. The FTC wrote back in May and the OCA wrote in June, the former expressing a total lack of sympathy at great length, the latter with a two paragraph form letter.

There are now about 6000 names in the .sucks zone file, providing an interesting snapshot of entities that believe that their are famous enough to get complaints yet so fragile that those complaints are a threat, so they're willing to pay $2500 not to protect them against those complaints. Apple is apparently a good example of a fragile brand since they've bought apple.sucks, applecare.sucks, appleinc.sucks, applemusic.sucks, applenews.sucks, applepay.sucks, applestore.sucks, appletv.sucks, applewatch.sucks, ios.sucks, ipad.sucks, ipadair.sucks, ipadmini.sucks, iphone.sucks, iphoto.sucks, ipod.sucks, ipodnano.sucks, ipodtouch.sucks, mac.sucks, macbook.sucks, macbookair.sucks, macosx.sucks, macpro.sucks, macbookpro.sucks, and osx.sucks.

They are not protected for the obvious reason that people can and do put complaint web sites anywhere. Disillusioned fanbois can try applesucks.sucks, or the less expensive applesucks.fail or applesucks.wtf. Since 99.9% of people find web sites by searching rather than typing in domain names, people will be able to find them just as easily as they can find taubmansucks.com, the domain name in the lawsuit that said a name with a brand and sucks does not infringe the brand's trademark since nobody would confuse it with the brand itself.

For that matter, I am tempted to register whyit.sucks, so I can offer names like applecare.whyit.sucks, ipod.whyit.sucks, and so forth. (Note: all of these names are available as of the time I wrote this, but I suspect some won't be available for long.)

On the assumption that most of the names in the .sucks zone file are defensive registrations, let's take a look and see who believes themselves to be famous and fragile, so they have a .sucks name to show it.

Professional sports teams seem fragile across the board: lakers.sucks, losangeleslakers.sucks, manchesterunited.sucks, mapleleafs.sucks, mapleleafsports.sucks, nets.sucks, newyorkgiants.,sucks, newyorkjets.sucks, nfl.sucks, nflnetwork.sucks, nflshop.sucks, nflticketexchange.sucks, patriots.sucks, redskins.sucks, redsox.sucks, and yankees.sucks.

Airlines, too: air-canada.sucks, air-france.sucks, air-new-zealand.sucks, air-norwegian.sucks, air-nz.sucks, airasia.sucks, aircanada.sucks, airfrance.sucks, airnewzealand.sucks, airnorwegian.sucks, airnz.sucks, americanairlines.sucks, americanairlinesemployee.sucks, americanairlinesemployees.sucks, americaneagle.sucks, delta.sucks, deltaairlines.sucks, easyjet.sucks. Nothing for Lufthansa, Singapore, or Cathay Pacific, suggesting that service makes a difference. Nor for Ryanair or Spirit, who don't care what you think because their prices are so low you'll buy tickets anyway.

Some hotel chains are fragile: jwmarriott.sucks, marriott.sucks, marriottexecutiveapartments.sucks, marriotthotels.sucks, marriottrewards.sucks, marriottvacationclub.sucks, marriottvacationsworldwide.sucks, But some aren't, there's nothing for Hilton other than parishilton.sucks, and we're not going there.

Some brands appear to have high opinions of their famousness: newzealandwindowshades.sucks, crowedunlevy.sucks, sungevity.sucks, todoparaprotegerte.sucks, scotiapersonnelltd.sucks, and so on and so forth for thousands of names.

And finally, there's hoover.sucks and oreck.sucks. Hmmn.

By John Levine, Author, Consultant & Speaker
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Share your comments

Thanks John Joe Hamelin  –  Jul 24, 2015 7:33 PM PDT

Best article ever, someone had to say it.  The whole .tld domain game is a scam anyway.

Respectfully yours,

joe@flyingcrockofshit.com

A classic! Carlos Raul Gutierrez  –  Jul 28, 2015 5:19 PM PDT

Excellent blog

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