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A beginner’s guide to becoming more abusive

10 December 2010

Nominet recently considered whether an initially non-abusive domain name registration might become abusive through its later use.

In this case Daniel Stubbs registered a number of spread betting related domain names including worldspreads.co.uk for the purposes of making money through affiliate marketing. The website at the domain initially contained links to generic shopping websites.

WorldSpreads, a well-known provider of financial spread betting services, began trading in the UK two months after the date of Mr Stubbs’ registration and was unable to adduce evidence of prior rights in the UK. The registration was, at that point, legitimate.

Following several approaches by WorldSpreads to purchase the domain, Mr Stubbs changed the content of his website to include links to the websites of WorldSpreads’ competitors.

It was held that, although the initial registration was legitimate, Mr Stubbs’ later use of the domain amounted to abusive use.

This decision will be welcome news to brand owners, and private individuals seeking to profit out of speculative domain name registrations will need to tread more carefully.

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