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Domain History Blocking Comes to Domain Tools

More than once, Domain Tools’ domain history has proven quite useful to me in domain disputes. It is always nice to be able to show a panel that the respondent is lying about the date of acquisition of a domain name — especially since the date of each transfer is considered to be a “new registration” under the UDRP. See this post (and scroll down to “Relation Back of Rights”).

A few weeks ago, word leaked out on the International Trademark Association list serv that Domain Tools was bought by a domain monetization company. A DMC is a company that turns un-used domains into pay-per-click sites. I’m not a big fan of them, as is obvious from this prior post. In theory, they are fine – they turn unused web domains into money-making enterprises. Unfortunately, in practice they encourage people to hoard domains, encourage domain tasting, and make the internet less navigable and more annoying.

When word hit the street that a DMC bought Domain Tools, there were some gasps of concern and a pretty spirited argument about what this meant for the future. In particular, cybersquatter defense attorneys trotted out the pitchforks and torches to burn one particular attorney, Marc Trachtenberg, (hereinafter, “Mr.T”) at the stake for his suggestion that this development did not bode well.

I’m glad that Mr.T survived, because it did not take long for him to be proven correct.

Now that Domain Tools is owned by a DMC, Domain Tools has a nifty new feature – Domain History Blocking. This little number is tailor made for those who just can’t seem to prevail when the facts come to light. From the Domain Tools website:

Domain History Blocking
Domain Tools offers Domain History Blocking for the purpose of domain sales or other short term purposes. The rate is $10.00 per domain name per day. (source)

Who wants to bet that “other short term purposes” will include “making sure that complainants in UDRP proceedings can’t prove when a domain was acquired.” Sort of the way that respondents figured out that the internet archive was a good tool to show bad faith use, so they started using robots.txt to get rid of the evidence.

Fortunately, it seems that some panelists interpret destroying evidence as “bad faith.” A little while back, a panel said that use of the robots.txt file was evidence of bad faith without a darn good explanation. (blogged here) Lets hope that UDRP panelists look at this kind of evidence-suppression the same way.

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