can these keywords go in the domain?

24 replies
if you are building an affiliate site for ebay or amazon or something and you
want to build a site for the Fender Bassman GX-2 bass amplefier.

What of these domains will you not get in trouble for??

1. fenderbassmangx2.com
2. fenderbassmangx2review.com
3. fenderbassman.com
4. bassmangx2.com
5. fenderbassamps.com

What I am trying to find out is what parts of an items name are ok to use in a domain name and what aren't. Can you be item specific, or do you have to be generic?

Thanks in advance for any input.
#domain #keywords
  • Profile picture of the author J23
    I don't know the exact details on TM issues, but my guess is that if you're helping the company sell more of their product, they won't care if you use their name in your domain.

    It would be foolish of any organization to come after you for helping them grow their business.

    I see domains every single day with company names in them or exact names of product and apparently they don't get in trouble for it so I think you will be fine.

    Again, I'm no expert on the matter and I haven't researched it exactly, just going by what I've seen and experienced.
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    • Profile picture of the author Winlin
      If you are concerned, why not contact them to see what they will and will not consider an infringement.
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    • Profile picture of the author warriorkay
      Originally Posted by J23 View Post

      I don't know the exact details on TM issues, but my guess is that if you're helping the company sell more of their product, they won't care if you use their name in your domain.

      It would be foolish of any organization to come after you for helping them grow their business.

      I see domains every single day with company names in them or exact names of product and apparently they don't get in trouble for it so I think you will be fine.

      Again, I'm no expert on the matter and I haven't researched it exactly, just going by what I've seen and experienced.
      I have thought so several times myself and gone ahead
      to register and use some of such domain names - and yes, -
      you guessed it, without any problems.

      I wonder why a company should bother when you are
      helping them make sales?

      Kingsley
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      • Profile picture of the author J23
        Originally Posted by warriorkay View Post

        I have thought so several times myself and gone ahead
        to register and use some of such domain names - and yes, -
        you guessed it, without any problems.

        I wonder why a company should bother when you are
        helping them make sales?

        Kingsley
        That's exactly how I feel.

        I'm not saying it can't or won't happen, but taking a step back from all this legal crap and looking at it logically, why would a company even waste their time?

        They would be losing money not only on the lawsuit itself, but once your site gets shut down and you're no longer making them sales, they lose money again.
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    Sorry, "Fender" and "Bassman" are registered TM infringements and you are leaving yourself open to unnecessary risk. Always search USPTO.gov when in doubt (though the mark could still be an unregistered TM).

    It is highly unlikely for large TM holders to give webmasters written permission to use their marks in domain names.

    It is also against most affiliate TOS agreements for your promo work to infringe on the IP of other companies.

    Originally Posted by J23 View Post

    I don't know the exact details on TM issues, but my guess is that if you're helping the company sell more of their product, they won't care if you use their name in your domain.
    Wrong. But don't feel bad, this is actually one of the biggest myths in webmastering.

    Certain affiliate programs don't have an issue with it, but they tend to not be huge operations.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      my guess is that if you're helping the company sell more of their product, they won't care if you use their name in your domain.
      Bad guess. Bad idea.

      Use a trademark in a domain name at your own risk as you can be shut down any time. You can also be taken to court - it's not worth the hassle.

      Some online product brands may not be diligent about protecting their trademark - some of them may not even register the name. Manufacturers of physical products often do go after those using their name.

      If you feel you need to use a trademark, check with a lawyer first.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Stremel
        Banned
        [DELETED]
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          so if I search USPTO.gov and its not listed there its free game?
          IANAL - but from what I've read the answer is probably "maybe":p

          The search must be for the brand name - not the brand name with another word added. Adding additional words doesn't negate the trademark issue.

          In the end courts decide who is right or wrong if such an issue goes to court - but that's an expensive option for a simple site and it's better to avoid the possibility of a problem.

          kay
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      • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
        Originally Posted by J23 View Post

        I don't know the exact details on TM issues, but my guess is that if you're helping the company sell more of their product, they won't care if you use their name in your domain.

        It would be foolish of any organization to come after you for helping them grow their business.

        I see domains every single day with company names in them or exact names of product and apparently they don't get in trouble for it so I think you will be fine.
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        Bad guess. Bad idea.

        Use a trademark in a domain name at your own risk as you can be shut down any time. You can also be taken to court - it's not worth the hassle.

        Some online product brands may not be diligent about protecting their trademark - some of them may not even register the name. Manufacturers of physical products often do go after those using their name.

        If you feel you need to use a trademark, check with a lawyer first.

        kay
        The only way around this is to approach the company in question anyway and ask their permission to use their trademark in your domain, however this can usually take months to negotiate and be such a hassle that it is generally not worth it.

        Much better would be to go for a generic domain name and build it up from there independently rather than build something that could be taken away at any time if they feel they want it back.

        And by the way, just because anyone does something slightly dodgy is not a reason or excuse to do anything, some murderers get away with their crimes for years, by your logic would that mean it is okay for you to try?
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          some murderers get away with their crimes for years
          So true - but the first time I tried it, I'd get caught - just my luck.
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      • Profile picture of the author J23
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        Bad guess. Bad idea.

        Use a trademark in a domain name at your own risk as you can be shut down any time. You can also be taken to court - it's not worth the hassle.

        Some online product brands may not be diligent about protecting their trademark - some of them may not even register the name. Manufacturers of physical products often do go after those using their name.

        If you feel you need to use a trademark, check with a lawyer first.

        kay
        What benefit would the company get over suing someone that is HELPING them sell more of their products?

        I understand the whole risk of using trademarked names, but looking at it logically, why would anyone waste time and money to bring someone down that is doing them a good service, i.e growing their business by selling more of their products?

        If you ran a site that did nothing but talk bad about their brand, then yes it would be perfectly understandable for them to sue you.

        If I owned a big brand name and someone had my term in their domain name and they were helping my business make more sales, I could care less about the domain name. Me going after them would mean less sales and revenue for my business.

        I can think of tons of domain names right now off the top of my head that have trademarked terms in them and they are big sites so I know the company has to know about them, but yet they are still around and have been for years.

        Now before someone responds with "so if XYZ jumped off a building does that mean it's safe for you to do it?"....I'm not saying it's OK or safe or legal or anything like that, but that in my opinion the chances of a company coming after someone and taking them to court when you're not doing anything but a good service for their business is minimal.

        You all don't have to agree with me and I'm sure most of you don't, but that's just my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author AaronSnider
    so if I search USPTO.gov and its not listed there its free game?
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  • Profile picture of the author AaronSnider
    very good information here, thanks again to all that answered.

    Last question. lets say it was 20 years ago and the Atari 2600 was the biggest thing on the market.

    ataricartridge.com Yes or NO?
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  • Profile picture of the author thewealthywiseman
    Originally Posted by AaronSnider View Post

    very good information here, thanks again to all that answered.

    Last question. lets say it was 20 years ago and the Atari 2600 was the biggest thing on the market.

    ataricartridge.com Yes or NO?
    IMHO that too would be a problem -- atari owned the name.
    What you need to do is to create a blog, or minisite (landingpage) to a domain you own -- like "amplifierreviewworld.com" then use that blog or post to talk about the merits of their TM product and push them in that fashion.
    Of course similar strategies to the one I just mention would also be good.

    Good Luck
    TheWealthy Wiseman
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  • Profile picture of the author AaronSnider
    very good, thank you all for the replies.

    Thanks all around. very productive thread I believe.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
    Actually to take this topic slightly off the track even more to say that we don't all think like murderers is blinding yourself, if someone attacks your family then you are going to want revenge, it is your morals and ethics that stop you from taking that last step to losing yourself, whether it be for your family or just whether you find the whole idea distasteful to not wanting to go to prison. What you are like as a person and not because you are somehow apart from the whole of the rest of the human race.

    We are all capable of some horrendous acts if pushed....and all capable of stopping them if we have the motivation.

    But bringing this back to the topic on hand, it is a bad idea to use someone elses trademarks without their express permission and consent, do not do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author al_clark7
    I wouldn't worry too much about it. They will be shifting more product
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  • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
    Originally Posted by al_clark7 View Post

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. They will be shifting more product
    Sometimes I seriously wish instead of a thanks button we had a "This poster is an idiot" button
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    • Profile picture of the author J23
      Originally Posted by Sparhawke View Post

      Sometimes I seriously wish instead of a thanks button we had a "This poster is an idiot" button
      I guess people are idiots because they share a different opinion than you do?

      Maybe that button should be invented for you then...
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      • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
        Originally Posted by J23 View Post

        I guess people are idiots because they share a different opinion than you do?

        Maybe that button should be invented for you then...
        Telling people that it is fine to take the trademark of another and use it for personal profit is absolutely the worst thing that can be said, and it is not my opinion only.

        He is an idiot for saying that, plain and simple.

        Originally Posted by J23 View Post

        What benefit would the company get over suing someone that is HELPING them sell more of their products?
        A company will want ABSOLUTE power over their trademark, they will not whore it off to anyone and why should they? Would you?

        Would you allow anyone to use your trading name and possibly say your own products are complete ****, do not work and cause viruses and massive slowdown problems?

        The damage this could cause would be inestimable.

        Back in the 1990s there was a company in England called Ratners whose CEO said their jewellery was crap, the company almost went into receivership, any company that gives anyone the power without authority to possibly destroy them simply because they don't care enough about their reputation probably deserves to go under.

        ~~~

        While you may argue that you are selling product for them you are not, you are selling products for yourself using their name and their reputation. You are nothing but a vampire basically or a parasite if you prefer that word instead.

        Wanting to use a trademark in a domain name is one thing, but there are proper ways to go about it that protect both yourself and the company you are working with.
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        • Profile picture of the author J23
          Originally Posted by Sparhawke View Post

          Telling people that it is fine to take the trademark of another and use it for personal profit is absolutely the worst thing that can be said, and it is not my opinion only.

          He is an idiot for saying that, plain and simple.
          Well, because YOU said so....

          lol...:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author richgrad
    Ok general guideline is as long as you're not passing off your site as their official site, it's ok... Some companies are stricter though like AWeber... I once registered a domain intending to use it for review/bonus and within 10 minutes of registering it, I got an email from them to shut it down.
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  • Profile picture of the author Domainate
    Anyone who is saying there are any circumstances with which you can include a TM in your domain without any risk and have a site about the TM'd product/company in question is dead wrong. Even if it's a rant site about the company and the whole "free speech" argument comes into question, you'll be in that company's crosshairs and they can UDRP the domain and possibly sue for damages and/or lawyer fees. I know this based on actual experiences of myself and people I know.

    The best thing you can do is approach them first to get permission (and get it in writing in a certified letter at least). Otherwise there's ALWAYS risk. Just because a particular company may not be actively defending their TM now doesn't mean they can't in the future. Twitter for instance wasn't defending their TM for years and recently has started to. Except for the few services with Twitter in their domain that they've decided to "grandfather in", they're expressly telling people NOT to use Twitter in their domain.
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