Being pressured by Amazon, should I sell?

26 replies
Hi all,
I have an odd situation developing and a little advice is appreciated; a few days ago Amazon sent an email saying that I had a website which violated their terms of service, and that the url I had was also a violation. I wasn't aware of the problem but on looking it all over I agreed that I was in violation and quickly complied with their request to dismantle the website. They next sent an email saying that my account would not be reinstated unless I sell them my url. They're being quite insistent and I'm wondering if the url might have some value to someone else and perhaps I should stick it on ebay or some such, sell it to the highest bidder, and let my mostly dormant amazon account remain closed forever. I'm not in love with amazon as a money method, so this wouldn't distress me.
My url is www.wikipediaamazon.com.
It was a low key experiment in passive traffic generation. I figured that someone going to wikipedia to research amazon, and typed in those two words, might be open to being sidetracked to my amazon website instead. It worked for about 4 months and it did bring traffic.
It hadn't occurred to me before that using the name of wiki and amazon might be some other kind of violation too, like hijacking a trademark or something similar.
From the first email I offered amazon that I would simply dismantle the website and put the url on the back burner and simply let it expire back to public domain in about 8 months.
This was all a very low key experament for me and I had not even looked at the site for three months, so if this all goes away quietly thats perfect, I've got my mind on other things these days.
Any thoughts? Do I sell it amazon at the url cost of $10? Do I jack up the price to amazon? Or do I sell it on the open market because there might be some value in it?
Comments appreciated, (abuse for my naive newby mistakes not so much, lol) thank you BR88
#amazon #pressured #sell
  • Profile picture of the author tj
    Amazon is a registered trademark - Wikipedia is registered trademark. Both trademark owners try to protect their intellectual property. You can figure out the rest.

    Timo
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  • Profile picture of the author DeadRooster
    Put up an information website about the amazon rainforest and tell them to take a hike.

    Not sure how you'd get around the Wikipedia trademark though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Wow.

      2 trademark infringements, in one domain.

      Mind you, I don't blame the OP, when very recently I bought a well respected and top level marketers course, where they were openly recommending buying Trademarked domains and using them for profit.

      If people we are mean't to respect and people here that are respected, say the course is "amazing", you can't blame newbies for doing what the OP's done.
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  • Profile picture of the author ladywriter
    I don't think selling it in the open market is an option at this point. What would your auction even say? "Amazon wanted me to shut this down and sell it to them, but I thought you'd like to buy it anyway?" Basically you'd be setting them up for the same trouble--how is that "of use" to anybody? I don't think Amazon would let that fly either tbh.

    I would ask what Amazon is offering as a buy price and take it. Personally I'd have no problems selling it to them for what I paid, especially if I hadn't even looked at the site in months. Whatever you get is more than you were doing with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author walkerj
    Two words: sell it (to Amazon).

    You have nothing to lose.
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    • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
      Send Amazon a letter stating that your understanding is that since Amazon has other meanings which predate their trademark you are not required to sell, but that you are open to selling if they offer a decent price. Then accept whatever they bid even if it is the minimum.Since you probably don't have the resources to fight them over the trademark and probably wouldn't win there is not much else you can do with it. Selling to some one else without disclosing the problem could also create a problem. Not a lawyer not responsible if using this advice makes your problem worse. And someday you might find a way to profit from their affiliate program.
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    • Profile picture of the author B.Smit
      Originally Posted by walkerj View Post

      Two words: sell it (to Amazon).
      I don't think they'll buy it. Imagine 1000 people registering "amazon" domains and expecting Amazon to purchase all of them.

      Originally Posted by kstark View Post

      I don't think selling it in the open market is an option at this point. What would your auction even say? "Amazon wanted me to shut this down and sell it to them, but I thought you'd like to buy it anyway?" Basically you'd be setting them up for the same trouble--how is that "of use" to anybody? I don't think Amazon would let that fly either tbh.
      I agree.

      Originally Posted by DeadRooster View Post

      Put up an information website about the amazon rainforest and tell them to take a hike.
      Not a bad idea, except for the Wikipedia part of the URL. Amazon doesn't own the word, after all.

      I guess if your site refers to the site/company and not to the rainforest/river, you'd be inviting trouble. Conversely, as long as it's about the river or rainforest, you're in the clear.
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  • Profile picture of the author dark witness
    I would sell to amazon. if you sell it to someone else, amazon is only going to get on their case about it and they may comeback to you with a lot of bad feedback and You don't want to get a bad rep.
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    There's no inherent value in the domain. Let Amazon have it and move on. And if they're offering to buy it, don't be greedy by attempting to negotiate over the price: you don't want to piss off a big, powerful company whose trademarks you've infringed upon.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    Doubt if Amazon would want to buy it because as a previous poster pointed out, Wikipedia is also a trademark. Rather than let the domain expire at the end of the registration period in several months time, I would cancel the domain now and tell Amazon you have done so.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      It hadn't occurred to me before that using the name of wiki and amazon might be some other kind of violation too, like hijacking a trademark or something similar.
      You've been a member here since 2008 - and you don't know about trademark violations? That alone is amazing considering the number of threads warning about it here.

      Either sell the domain for registration fee to Amazon - or give it to Amazon. You're only out $10 - don't make the problem worse.

      If you plan to try to auction it off or try to get a profit for it from Amazon - do yourself a favor and get a lawyer first. You may well need him.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author wtktg1
    Yeap agree with everyone that you should just sell it back to Amazon

    Selling it to other person will bring both you and the other person trouble
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    • Profile picture of the author waken
      Originally Posted by wtktg1 View Post

      Yeap agree with everyone that you should just sell it back to Amazon

      Selling it to other person will bring both you and the other person trouble
      Exactly. And you're in fact lucky enough that they offer to buy from you.
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      • Profile picture of the author tamarindcandy
        Originally Posted by waken View Post

        Exactly. And you're in fact lucky enough that they offer to buy from you.
        Agreed, if I were Amazon I'd be siccing lawyers on the OP's behind. Domain squatting that involves trademark infringements isn't very wise.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve McDaniel
    I had a similar experience for having the word entertainment in my domain name. I got a 30 page cease and desist from the company that puts out the entertainment books you buy for $30 bucks and get discounted services. I went to namedroppers.com and searched for domains with entertainment in them. There were like 16,000. I sent a one page letter back stating that if I couldn't use it neither could all of these. They basically insisted on getting my domain transfered to them. After my very terse response I never heard another word back and the domain is still running today. Seems to me it's just a way to get domains that are already building traffic and probably many people just assume they have to comply.

    In the case of Amazon that's a word with many meanings and doesn't specifically mean "Amazon the seller of products" but I think the wikipedia is a bit harder to work around.

    Just my 2 cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Blade Runner 77
    Wow, thank you everybody for your well considered replies, very much appreciated for what is a pretty basic error on my part.
    I have no beef with amazon.com, so making this go away quickly and quietly is good.
    I'd cancel the domain if I knew how, I've tried to clean out unwanted domains before with godaddy but they've refused to do so, insisting on the whole 12 months, I think they're hoping I'll not be paying attention and renew them by mistake.
    thanks again BR88
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    • Profile picture of the author B.Smit
      Originally Posted by Blade Runner 88 View Post

      I'd cancel the domain if I knew how, I've tried to clean out unwanted domains before with godaddy but they've refused to do so, insisting on the whole 12 months, I think they're hoping I'll not be paying attention and renew them by mistake.
      Why would they renew them if you don't want them to be renewed? Simply change the setting from automatic renewal to manual.
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  • Profile picture of the author redfieryheart
    selling to Amazon is the best solution. They are just trying to protect their trademark and that is the only way they think will solve the problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author website12
    Banned
    I would try yo sell it for more.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesGw
    I'd probably just sell it to them to save yourself the headache. You won't be able to do any eCommerce with Amazon in your domain name, although I think you'd be fine with just an informational site. But if you do that, it means you won't be making money on it anymore. So why don't you just sell to them and hope you get a few bucks. See what they're offering.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      If you want an expensive lesson in how things really work, take some of the advice here about trying to get money from amazon or use the url for something else. Good luck with that - you'll need it.

      I'd transfer the domain to amazon without delay - for free. Consider the cost of registration as lesson learned.

      You can cancel auto-renew, you can cancel a domain either "as soon as possible" or "at the end of current registration". You can transfer the domain to Amazon.

      You can't cancel by telling Godaddy you want to cancel but I've never seen a registrar that did not have a page devoted to canceling domains. It's often not the easiest page to find - but a direct question to Godaddy will probably help you find it.

      You can say "I didn't know" about registering the trademark infringing domain name - but you can't use "I don't know how to..." to excuse not taking care of this problem now you've been called on it.

      Figure it out - get it done. Then you don't have to worry about it.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author problog
    Just sell it to them and be done with it
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by Blade Runner 88 View Post

    Do I jack up the price to amazon? Or do I sell it on the open market because there might be some value in it?
    Doing either of those things may help them establish that you registered the domain in "bad faith" and potentially allow them to seize the domain from you without compensation.
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  • Profile picture of the author PeachCoding
    I would sell it to them for the value of the domain plus a nice padding for the value of estimated future earnings owning the domain would have brought you. They can surely afford it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      All these "sell it to Amazon" posts are just silly. Read Dan's post. Just let it go.

      That happened to me once, I received the C&D letter (not from Amazon) I just let the domain go.

      You're out the reg fee and that's it. You have no case. You're not going to spend money in attorney fees fighting them when you're violating their trademark. And if you turn around now and say you'll sell it to them for $100 million dollars you just made their case, thank you very much.

      WIPO will just take the domain from you and transfer it to Amazon. So stop wasting time on this one.
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      • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
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        Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

        All these "sell it to Amazon" posts are just silly. Read Dan's post. Just let it go.

        That happened to me once, I received the C&D letter (not from Amazon) I just let the domain go.

        You're out the reg fee and that's it. You have no case. You're not going to spend money in attorney fees fighting them when you're violating their trademark. And if you turn around now and say you'll sell it to them for $100 million dollars you just made their case, thank you very much.

        WIPO will just take the domain from you and transfer it to Amazon. So stop wasting time on this one.
        Why would they just transfer it to Amazon? Amazon has no claim to the Wikipedia trademark, and doing so would put Amazon in potential trademark violation. It would be kind of funny though to see news reports questioning why Amazon is trying to violate Wiki's trademark, lol.

        As for those "sell it to Amazon" posts being silly, apparently you and a few others didn't read the original post very well:

        They next sent an email saying that my account would not be reinstated unless I sell them my url.
        They actually asked him to sell it to them. Not for $100 million to be sure, but then, the only one who made that claim is you.

        Since they asked you to sell it to them, that's what I would do. I would sell it to them for the cost of the domain, and be done with it. Then I would release a press release revealing Amazon's potential trademark violation of Wikipedia, lol.
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