Have you registered a .sucks domain?

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The number of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) is growing all the time. Most come into being without much of a fanfare, however the same cannot be said of the .sucks domain name which entered the general availability stage in June.

The sunrise period opened on 30 March 2015, giving brand owners who had registered their trade mark with the Trademark Clearinghouse the first opportunity to purchase the domain name before it was made available to the public. This would be a defensive purchase, with the aim of preventing hostile third parties from using the brand name followed by the word “sucks”. Notwithstanding this, reports suggest that many UK big brand owners did not purchase the domain name during the sunrise period. Possibly they were deterred by the cost – €2,499 per domain; possibly they were unaware of the new gTLD. Also, possibly, they considered the work “sucks” to be an Americanism, not much used in the UK – which is probably misguided, not least as the bigger brands may have a resonance among US consumers. A further possibility for the lack of uptake might be that what attention there has been on gTLDs this year has been on the new .porn domain, with reports of female celebrities – including the perennially savvy Taylor Swift – busily buying up the domains, leaving .sucks a little in the shadows.

A more likely reason may be that brand owners believe that protest sites have become a fact of life – and moreover that consumers have grown used to them and aren’t that interested, preferring instead to air their views on social media platforms or review sites. There is no real likelihood of confusion arising between the brand owner’s site and a protest site.

A refusal or failure to register does not leave the brand owner without redress. The Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) offer expedited administrative proceedings for brand owners affected by an abusive registration of a domain name.