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Microsoft XBox (Games) Games

Microsoft Files Dispute Against Current Owner of XboxOne.com 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-in-a-name? dept.
MojoKid writes "Microsoft might have one of the most talked-about products at the moment with the Xbox One, but would you believe it doesn't own the rights to the most obvious domain name to accompany it? Domain squatting is a real issue for companies about to launch a new product. If they register a domain before the official launch, people can find that and subsequently ruin the company's surprise. This particular case is different, however. The domain name wasn't registered just the other day. Instead, a UK resident registered the name XboxOne.com in December of 2011, long before Microsoft itself even likely had a definitive name for its upcoming console. So, what can a company do in this instance? File a dispute with the National Arbitration Forum, an ICANN-approved organization that specializes in dealing with these sorts of matters."
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Microsoft Files Dispute Against Current Owner of XboxOne.com

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  • Xbox One? Oh my! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:12PM (#43830241)

    They's better change that ridiculous name instead.

    • You'd think they'd at least do a quick type-it-into-their-browser before the launch.

      Get some ideas for names, do the searches (including for other products, as well as domains), throw out any problem names, pick the best of what's left, then file for trademark and domain names and announce the product all on the same day.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:05AM (#43830467)

        They probably did that and yielded no results with Bing...

      • Re:Xbox One? Oh my! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:38AM (#43830603)

        You'd think they'd at least do a quick type-it-into-their-browser before the launch.

        Well even searching for a name can trigger registrations of that name. I've had this happen to me while
        searching for a name for a customer, I checked several registrars to be sure the name was free. Made the
        mistake of doing this over a couple of weeks, and by the time they gave me the go-ahead it was snapped up
        by some guy in a spanish speaking country. (The domain only made sense in english).
        Sure enough he would sell it for $1000. (Actually he wanted the equivalent in Mexican Pesos.)

        In fact the article says:

        XboxOne.com isn't being used for anything, so it's in effect a squat

        So no matter how long ago he registered it he probably had inside information or results from domain name searches.

        That long in advance does seem a little odd, because tacking ONE on the end of stuff only became popular
        recently, the Nexus One was the first big example that comes to mind. I wonder how many other names
        this guy registered.

      • I always wondered why Ad-Aware never checked for that name (it was owned by ADAware, an ADA software site, when I looked at it several years ago). Apparently those two didn't arrive at amicable terms ... last I saw, ADAware had a link to a different ad blocker on their site.

    • by hutsell (1228828)

      They's better change that ridiculous name instead.

      And strangely, nobody has yet to register the xboxwon.com domain -- their advertising's double entendre for the XBox One.

      • by hutsell (1228828)

        They's better change that ridiculous name instead.

        And strangely, nobody has yet to register the xboxwon.com domain -- their advertising's double entendre for the XBox One.

        Nevermind. It's gone.

        • I always thought exploiting domain name front-running [wikipedia.org] would be a clever way to have an argument—possibly with some kind of "you automatically lose the argument if the WHOIS returns a hit" rule, sort of like Godwin's Law.

          WhatDoYouWant.com?
          ImJustSayingItsNotFairThatsAll.com
          NobodyWantsToGoThereWithYou.com
          GoWhere.com?
          *bzzt*

        • by shentino (1139071)

          You didn't search for it with Network Solutions did you?

    • Xbox One's successor will obviously be Xbox A.

  • by wbane (12572) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:13PM (#43830251) Homepage

    Fork over some money, Micro$oft, if you want it that bad...

    • by Squiddie (1942230) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:20PM (#43830277)
      I kind of agree. They could have saved up all those lawyer fees and just paid the guy off. I'd take Microsoft money any day.
      • Microsoft has staff lawyers that won't cost them anything other than the fee to file the dispute. Since the domain just goes to some GoDaddy parking page filled with ads it's more likely to go in Microsoft's favor. I'm sure their lawyers are aware of this.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        I kind of agree. They could have saved up all those lawyer fees and just paid the guy off. I'd take Microsoft money any day.

        They just filed a dispute, not like they are going to court.

        And we have no idea if they tried to get a hold of the person, or if they couldn't, or if the person said, sure, for 1 Million pounds.

        What I don't understand is why people treat domain squatting like it's a bad thing. Free market and all that? The website name is property, and as far as I know there isn't a law saying you have to use your property or someone else can have it.

      • by ikaruga (2725453)
        I disagree. The guy is not even using the domain. Paying him is just encouraging this disgusting behavior. Just like the police doesn't negotiate with bandits, I don't negotiate with Domain Squatters. *.com domains are limited resources and just like any other limited resource, it should be regulated and available only for people that actually will use it.
  • Use a straw purchaser. Probably someone with a track record of domain squatting. So when people see them buying yet one more domain name, they'll think nothing of it.

    Yes, that's going to cost money. But in the overall product marketing scheme, its a minor cost.

  • by gaelfx (1111115) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:28PM (#43830309)

    Am I the only one that gets the GoDaddy.com spiel when I try to go to xboxone.com? Seems shenannigansy.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Seems shenannigansy.

      Not really. You can register a domain through them. If you don't configure the name to point to an actual site, it just stays 'parked' at GoDaddy with such a page.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @11:34PM (#43830333)

    If the domain owner had actually been using the name (rather than just to show a default launch page) then I might have some sympathy for them. But those people who speculatively register thousands of domains just to extort money from legitimate users deserve to be sued.

    Nobody should ever reward the bad practices of those douchebags. They are the equivalent of patent trolls.

    • by Nyder (754090) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:35AM (#43830597) Journal

      If the domain owner had actually been using the name (rather than just to show a default launch page) then I might have some sympathy for them. But those people who speculatively register thousands of domains just to extort money from legitimate users deserve to be sued.

      Nobody should ever reward the bad practices of those douchebags. They are the equivalent of patent trolls.

      I don't agree. Sure, it sucks, but the name is property. People buy up property cheap all the time with the hopes that the area might become developed and the property will go up in price.

      Just because MS wants it doesn't mean they should get it. Just because the person hasn't done anything with his website doesn't mean MS should get it. This is mostly just catering to the corporations.

      MS should of bought all the Xbox* names they could of back when they released the original xbox. They didn't, tough shit, imo.

      And why do you need a new website name for a new console? Why not just have Xbox.com show the new console? It's not like they are going to keep selling and advertising the Xbox 360 after the Xbox One is released.

      • I don't agree. Sure, it sucks, but the name is property. People buy up property cheap all the time with the hopes that the area might become developed and the property will go up in price.

        The property is the domain databases and name servers the ICANN or whoever it is uses, and charges you annually for. They can either have a legitimate client (MS legitimate for once, LOL) or make a subcontractor have money off squatting, which would make sense commercially but it's not in the mission, I HOPE.

      • by Solandri (704621) on Monday May 27, 2013 @06:29AM (#43831543)

        MS should of bought all the Xbox* names they could of back when they released the original xbox. They didn't, tough shit, imo.

        That's not the way it was supposed to work. Way back when the Internet was young and domain names was first thought up, the idea was that Microsoft just puts their site for the XBox on xbox.microsoft.com. If they wanted to simplify it, they could register xbox.com. But that's it; nothing else. Then when they released the XBox 360, they put it on the URL 360.xbox.com. When they release the XBox One, they put it on one.xbox.com. Same thing for e.g. Apple products. iphone.apple.com, 4gs.iphone.apple.com, air.macbook.apple.com, etc.

        But because the folks who made domain names decided to make them little endian, the above URLs run counter to how you name things (in English at least). So instead it's become popular to try to register a domain for the product name as you'd write it, which is what makes everything vulnerable to domain squatting.

        The folks who made USENET got it right when they made their hierarchy big endian (e.g. rec.arts.sf.starwars.games). You start from the biggest concept and narrow it down with each additional word. If domain names had been big endian, the above URLs would've been com.xbox.360, com.xbox.one, com.apple.iphone.4gs, com.apple.macbook.air, etc. And we probably could've avoided most of this domain squatting mess. Phishing would've been harder too since the non-spoofable part of the domain name would appear first.

        Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.

        • by iris-n (1276146)

          This sounds cool, but actually doesn't make any sense. The problem is not big endian versus litlle endian. Microsoft could very well use com.microsoft.xbox.360, but then somebody could squat com.xbox.360. Or microsoft could use com.xbox.360, and somebody would try to squat com.xbox360. The advantage of USENET is that its hierarchical structure was more or less well defined, while in the WWW it is completely arbitrary what you put before the .com part.

    • by luther349 (645380)
      i don't think anyone is being sued. if the site was being used for something then this would be different Microsoft would have been forced to pay off the owner. being its sitting unused they file a dispute and say hey nobody is using this we want it.
    • by fermion (181285)
      In free market countries, like the US, ownership is everything. For instance, I can own as many houses as I want, and even if I don't use them, they are mine. All I have to do is pay taxes and sometimes upkeep. The taxes are there to so that I have an incentive to sell land that I am not utilizing to someone else who might be able to make more efficient use of it. In less free market countries, like the UK, it used to be the case where land that wasn't used could be used by other people. In any case,
  • How do you know? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    At the moment, XboxOne.com isn't being used for anything, so it's in effect a squat.

    You mean they don't have an active website. That doesn't mean the domain name isn't being used for anything. It has A and MX records. Even scanning the ports on the A records and finding nothing doesn't mean it's not being used. It may not respond to any except certain IP addresses.

    Now I agree it's likely it's not being used for anything, but as the registrant of several domains which do not have websites associated with them (but DO have email and other services) I call nonsense (if not straight up libel)

    • by mysidia (191772)

      You mean they don't have an active website. That doesn't mean the domain name isn't being used for anything. It has A and MX records.

      Even if they have other hidden uses; under the anti cybersquatting rules, they will most likely lose the dispute BECAUSE of the website with just ads on it; which is treated similarly as making an offer to sell the domain for more than they paid.

      The web page with only ads is likely to result in Microsoft winning the UDRP dispute.

      If there was no web page with only ad

      • Re:How do you know? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:21AM (#43830529) Homepage

        Be careful, though. Part of what you see for a given domain name depends on your ISP. For instance, if you're on Cox's cable Internet service and try going to "nonexistent.silverglass.org" (a name which definitively does not exist in the zonefile), you'll get a Web site filled with ads. A Web site I never created and have no part of. If you look at the URL bar, you'll see that Cox has resolved that name (that should've gotten an NXDOMAIN result) to the IP address of one of their servers and redirected you to one of their Web sites. Cox at least does a redirect, some ISPs simply serve up the page as if it came from the server name you used leaving you no clue that the domain owner isn't the one running that site.

        It looks from my side like the site's just parked at GoDaddy, and what you're getting is the generic site GoDaddy serves up to every parked domain. The only ad is the button GoDaddy puts there to see about buying the domain, which is there whether the domain owner is interested in selling or not.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          Be careful, though. Part of what you see for a given domain name depends on your ISP.

          Not at all. The contents of a DNS response are dependant upon the response from the authoritative DNS servers, and I run my own recursive DNS servers, so I can be sure there is no funny business going on from my ISP.

          I'll grant you that COX users might see something different, but it's not supposed to; and it's just that COX has broken their DNS servers, probably by inserting a Paxfire/Xerocole/Glog or Infoblox unit

          • by Todd Knarr (15451)

            Even if you run your own DNS servers, it's easy for an ISP to force you to go through theirs. On Linux it only takes a couple of iptables rules to redirect all traffic to destination port 53, TCP as well as UDP, to a specific IP address. It's the same trick used to force all HTTP traffic through a proxy, or block outbound SMTP except through the ISP's servers.

            • by mysidia (191772)

              P.S. Even if traffic redirection is successful it won't work. A query by an authoritative DNS server looks different from a query made by a DNS resolver; namely, Recursion Allowed (RA) is false, and bit5 AA (authoritative answer) must be set in the response.

              You really think the developers of NXDomain interceptors bothered to lookup the nuanced details of an Authoritative VS Recursive queryier?

              Redirecting traffic would just make all lookups fail.

    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      Seconded. For nearly a decade I had a domain that had no Web sites in it and in fact no e-mail service (no MX records). But it was very definitely in use. I used it to hold A records for hosts I needed convenient names for that didn't have names of their own (or not names I could resolve from my home network anyway). It was especially convenient for dynamic names, where the IP address changed regularly but I still needed a way to access the machine remotely. And most of those machines would look dead to any

  • ...it's not even in use. It's just the godaddy placeholder.

    Normally, I tend to side with the 'little guy' like MikeRoweSoft - he was actually USING the domain.

    In this case, the guy's just squatting. Give him some token fund for "good guess what we'd call it" like $1000 and give MS the domain.

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:12AM (#43830491)

    Even if the registration was legitimate, they still used a Microsoft trademark as a portion of the domain name. That is going to cause problems for the domain's owner even if the trademark XBox One didn't exist at the time of registration.

    For what it's worth, I pulled up on archive.org and it was some sort of xbox fan site in the past. Depending upon the trail of registrations since then, it is doubtful that a domain squatter owns it.

    • Even if the registration was legitimate, they still used a Microsoft trademark as a portion of the domain name. That is going to cause problems for the domain's owner even if the trademark XBox One didn't exist at the time of registration.

      For what it's worth, I pulled up on archive.org and it was some sort of xbox fan site in the past. Depending upon the trail of registrations since then, it is doubtful that a domain squatter owns it.

      So if I used the name Dellve Consulting then Dell should sue me ?

      HighLatitude.com ?

      XPSThree.com ? (Dell or Sony, take your pick)

      A trademark is specific and for good reason. If Microsoft fucked up and didn't arrange the domain ahead of time it's their own fault and they'll have to pay, one way or the other.

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:14AM (#43830505) Journal
    C'mon guys, this guy just won the lottery.

    I for one, wouldn't have guessed it'd be Xbox One, especially not 2 years ago. I Microsoft really wants this name, it's not difficult for them to pony up the dough. Even at 1.000.000$, for MS this would have been a good deal. Going the lawsuit way for someone as powerful as MS, is stupid, they're most likely just going to have haters against them etc.

    On the other hand, I don't side with Cybersquatters or people who just purchase 10000 random domain names just because they want to prey on any-company-dot-com, but business is business, if you don't make it your own - it'll be someone else. That's the hard facts of life.

    • Trademark law is on MS's side, they'll win this. If the guy is lucky, it'll be in ICANN's arbitration and he'll just lose the name. If he's unlucky, it'll go to US courts as a trademark issue and he may owe MS lawyer fees when he loses (which he will).

      This stuff isn't a case of "First guy to grab it gets to extort whatever they want." Trademark law doesn't work that way. If someone has a legit trademark on something they defend, they are going to get it.

      So if you register a generic name that a company wants

      • I know what you're saying, but this isn't a pure trademark, it's a sentence including a name.

        Xbox ONE
        Not Xbox

        Eg. Nintendo Fan Club
        It's very difficult for Nintendo to sue them for the name, or take over the domain in such a case.
        It's not illegal to be a fan of a brand, nor is it illegal to start a sub-branch company (3rd party if you like) based on a brand.
        Well, it might be in the USA, but not here.
  • by kabdib (81955) on Monday May 27, 2013 @12:25AM (#43830547) Homepage

    I just bought xboxminusone.com -- wonder if they'll want that, too?

  • my opinion similar situation to ronpaul.com, it was registered long before he retired and wanted his domain. He lost when he tried to take the legit established route to acquire the domain.

    Microsoft should also lose this case.

    But it won't Microsoft will of course win cause Corporations rule the world

  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:13AM (#43830721)

    The guy registered a domain name *2* years ago, probably even before MS would look for a name for their upcoming console. This is just another (yet) case of a big company using its legal weight against the small people.

  • by shinmai (632532) * <aapo.saaristo@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:29AM (#43830779) Homepage

    It's probably worth noting, XboxOne.com is way older than 2011, it's been around since the original xbox was released http://web.archive.org/web/20021115163519/http://www.xboxone.com/ [archive.org]

  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday May 27, 2013 @01:58AM (#43830867) Journal
    I'm going to start an organization called ICANN, which is a shortening of "I CAN Nick [cambridge.org] any name I want" and sue ICANN for icann.org. They can change their flippin' name to ICANNT for all I care.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @02:08AM (#43830879)

    WHOIS and Google reveal that he owns a total of 5 domains. Sure, he isn't doing anything with them, but he isn't some faceless "domain squatting corporation" either.

    The guy seems to have been the director of a bunch of companies, so he probably understands business. I don't blame him for trying to capitalize on his good fortune. Microsoft will try to use their army of lawyers to either get the domain for free or at a value far below what it is worth to them. I hope he stands up for himself and hires a good lawyer, rather than settling for a derisory sum.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday May 27, 2013 @03:36AM (#43831135)
    Just an aside, I happen to know the guy who long ago registered the name "Gateway.com" for his computer/telecommunication business. This was back when it was just a telecommunication term. There was a company who made computers and also liked the term, they called the company "Gateway 2000". Eventually they realized that the year 2000 was fast approaching and that they couldn't stop it and by 2001 their name would look pretty silly. So they changed the company name to Gateway. And then they went after him because he was using "their" domain. Their lawyers made his life miserable, and as far as I know he "settled" but never got anything for his property that was taken except an agreement of some donation to "charity".
  • by Trogre (513942) on Monday May 27, 2013 @07:18AM (#43831661) Homepage

    I just hope they remember to also register the new console's unofficial name:
    xbone.com

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday May 27, 2013 @04:56PM (#43834985) Homepage Journal

    When Vista was released I tried Vista.com and it was a very established data business, totally unrelated
    to Microsoft. MS walked all over this domain name, I thought ah these poor people. I checked on the site
    from time to time, the business model changed over the years to one of working with computer hardware.

    Never once did they have a redirect to Microsoft due those coming to the wrong site which impressed me
    as them never letting MS change their operation - yet vista.com does redirects to vistaprint.com now.

    This XboxOne is MS's fault for not checking first before committing, get over it MS you failed again.

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