No Oogle for Google in domain dispute

An arbitrator approved by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers recently handed California-based Google a loss in a domain name dispute. Google was fighting against, a domain originally registered by a teenager in the late 1990s.

Google argued that the domain registration in 1999 came two years after Google’s own registry. Internet search and software giant claimed that was squatting and reaped undeserved benefits from typographical mistakes and misspelled Google searches.

The argument was rejected by the National Arbitration Forum because Google did not satisfy three criteria needed to force the domain name offline or transfer it to Google’s domain name stockpile.

It was up to Google to prove the owner of purposely tried to confuse users by mimicking Google trademarks or services. The search engine had to show that was registered in bad faith and that its owner had no interests in the name.

The owner of was 13 years old when he registered the domain, which he said was named after the nickname of a software programming friend. At the time, the friends had hoped to develop a programming project. One owned The other purchased

ICANN members raised their eyebrows at the explanation, but had no way to go back 13 years to prove otherwise.

Arbitrators also were not convinced that Google was as well-known as company officials claimed it was at the time. The Google trademark was not yet registered in 1999. has gone through several incarnations over the years. It was first a shopping site, then a programming site and later, as the teen got older, a website for “adult matchmaking.”

The owner of did hope to sell Google the domain name for $600,000, which he claimed was a legitimate offer for a “good faith” registration. It might have been cheaper in the long run for Google to accept the offer.

Source:, “Google Denied Claim to Domain Name,” Loek Essers, July 26, 2012

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