Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wendy Nabs Competitor's Domain name

A great article at Craig Smith's Blog reported today that Evans, Hardy + Young have nabbed all logical SB Daily Sound domain names -- EH+Y is under contract with the News-Press. This is looking more and more like a tight, partisan Congressional race every day. We'll be seeing attack ads next.

Interestingly enough, I found out last night that has been nabbed as well by one Erik Davis. I have no idea who he is or why he'd buy the BB domain name, but it was bought just a week ago. I never bought the domain as I would be giving up my anonymity -- but it's interesting that someone else has designs upon it.

Update on 8/23: I heard from Erik Davis about the domain and his interest is clearly not malicious -- in fact he seems like a great guy. I wouldn't want anyone to think otherwise considering the post I mentioned him on was about some rather predatory domain grabbing. We are in conversation about it now by email and I'll keep everyone updated about how it goes should anything come of it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone check your domains! Actually you can buy or .net..but hurry before Wendy buys up everything!

8/15/2006 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now there's some ethical behavior.

8/15/2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous wilkinson said...

Whatever you do, don't give up your identity.

8/15/2006 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting...enough for a mini series.
so what does this mean for our Heroine Sara De La Guerra?
i guess we will all have to stay tuned in.

on a side line did they not pass a law to prevent holding domain names on businesses that exist. Does not the Business have first right?
I thought there had been a court ruling on that to prevent hold domian names hostage. I think it may have been Nabisco that brought that suit, that was so many years ago and i am getting old and can't remember everything.

8/15/2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger The Observer said...

The Goleta Observer has continued its profiles of the Goleta City Council.

In addition to announcing that Roger Aceves has qualified for the November election, today the Observer has profiled Cynthia Brock.

8/15/2006 11:53 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

WOW, Sara! I guess now you are national news :-).

Will be interesting to see what this person does with the domain, if anything at all. Perhaps he was trying to cash in on some imagined $$$ down the road.


8/15/2006 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Valerio said...

Keep the free blog portal via, which is a Google operation and a free one as well.

Notice how myspace caved in and dumped Spendy McFlaw and the myspace site, but the one via Blogspot is still there and thriving, as Google is much harder to influence, but I am sure Ampersand's lawers are trying.

8/15/2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the national news source let people know that this is a censored blog?

8/15/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people just don't get the concept of a blog huh 2:39 PM?

Check wiki

8/15/2006 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent posting at the observer today.

and it has no comment moderation so you know you can be heard!

8/15/2006 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SARA this is a great blog.. i see others are having a problem with it.
you allow people to post from both sides... that is a lot more the news press ever did.. and it does not cost a dime.
and the "preventragidy" site hit's little to close to home form some that post on here...someones panties got in a bunch!

8/15/2006 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Main Entry: weblog
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: a personal Web site that provides updated headlines and news articles of other sites that are of interest to the user, also may include journal entries, commentaries and recommendations compiled by the user; also written web log, Weblog; also called blog

8/15/2006 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people need to stay out of the gene pool.

8/15/2006 4:11 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Anon 2:39 pm - please - Sara, although she and I have differing POV's from time to time, tends to be fair, realistic and open minded.

She's doing a great service buy hosting this blog, especially since it takes a fair amount of her time and effort.

And if you just joined, Sara felt the need to screen the postings due to high emotions and fingers typing too fast before the brain engaged. Sara encourage civil discussion and deletes personal and unnecessary attacks. It got pretty heated out there for awhile in the run-up to the primary election.

I like reading the posts, talking to people like FDS & Mike Pinto, and the ability to feel a little freer in expressing my opinion in the e-world.

Overall, I appreciate what Sara has done and is doing. It's her blog and her rules. You can accept that and if that doesn't work for you, another blog may suit your purpose. dd

8/15/2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Justin Dullum said...

About being anonymous: To be anonymous is to be scared of something. You must be lying to someone somewhere down the line if you must be anonymous. (If us anonymous types are scared of, say, being fired by what we write on a blog, why don't our bosses know what we think in the first place? In other words, why aren't we always purely ourselves?) It's all about fear.

I will say this in defense of Travis Armstrong, his dirty laundry is at least on the line. At least we know how rotten of an idiot he is and WHO he is. I'll give him that.

Wendy McCaw doesn't deserve as much of a break as Travis on this one point since she hasn't had the guts to meet face to face with the people whose lives she's ruining, which makes her a plain old coward.

But, of course, all in all, the whole situation is a nightmare not only for good journalism, but more importantly, I think, for working people - the rich truly own our communities only if we each won't be heard as accountable individuals. Our thoughts and minds can have no price...

8/15/2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...


To paraphrase a quote by an old technology:

Those who demand freedom of the blog better own one.

Daily Sound would not be considered "national news" although the web site is global, of course.

8/15/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, criminy 2:39. It's her blog; she decides what goes in it.

Censorship is the government suppressing the press, art, literature, etc. It's not a blogger deciding what she wants to see in her own blog.

Sara's declined to use a couple of my posts (probably wisely), but it doesn't mean Big Brother is stickin' it to me. Sheesh.

8/15/2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me this whole thing is more about the super-rich McCawful using her money (earned the old fashioned way) trying to control the flow of information in and around SB. So what's next in store will be interesting to see, because I'm sure this is only part of a larger plan.

8/16/2006 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

according to some pigs are the most destructive animals.

8/16/2006 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

according to some pigs are the most destructive animals.

They are indeed. Second only to humans in destructiveness. The combination of the two is trully awful. It's what killed the dodo.

8/17/2006 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double standard alert:

Rotten idiot and plain old coward are acceptable terms on this blog. Can't wait to use them.

8/17/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

When I asked Nipper about the domain thing, here was his reply:

Here are the facts (which sadly seem to be lacking on some blogs and in certain free newspapers):

1. Evans Hardy + Young registered some URLs. This was prior to Wendy McCaw or my involvement in the management of the Santa Barbara News-Press and was completely unknown to us. It may have been under the direction of the former publisher.

2. Evans Hardy + Young no longer work for the News-Press.

3. Santa Barbara Daily Sound got a goodwill welcome on the pages of the News-Press when they began publishing. "Read all about it: New paper debuts" was published with a photograph on March 23, 2006. You can read the full story on archives.

4. There are concerns that the masthead, font and design of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound looks very similar to the Santa Barbara News-Press and we have had a number of inquiries from readers asking if the Sound was a publication from the News-Press group. It is in both of our interests that the confusion is corrected. We have sat down with the owners of the Sound and are currently working on resolving these issues.

8/17/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

Smith and the Daily Sound Respond to the News-Press Nipper. Says, Smith, he's using the "Mission Impossible" tactic. (Click here to read the whole story.)

8/17/2006 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you not know who Erik Davis is? He's a local philanthropist and bonvivant. He's everywhere around town... one person to definitely know.

8/18/2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger theaverageman said...

FYI, when you can register a domain name, most registrars offer the option to keep your information private for just another 8-10 bucks. Well worth it to have control of your net space.

8/18/2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, you can register a domain name anonymously, it is not that tough. Big oversight on your part - that would have been much better than having to google this hard-to-find site every time. Sloppy. Prior planning prevents poor performance.

8/18/2006 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Jose Mercury News (CA)
February 28, 2001
Estimated printed pages: 3

TWO years ago Volkswagen got a voice mail that set off the auto maker's lawyers. I own the rights to, the caller proclaimed, and I'll sell the domain name to the highest bidder if your company doesn't respond within 24 hours.

Work of a cyberpirate out to make bucks by ransoming a Web address, right?

Three federal judges in Virginia saw it in those black and white terms. Last month they ordered the caller's business -- an Internet service provider named Virtual Works -- to surrender In their judgment, the company registered the domain name in bad faith because it knew that, someday, Volkswagen might be interested in the address.

But the case has plenty of gray. The court decision came even though Virtual Works had used the domain name for years without complaints. And it came even though Virtual Works made the phone call only after VW dealerships had inquired about buying the Web address.

Companies and individuals with famous names deserve trademark protection on the Web. But they don't merit blanket control over every conceivable dot-com, dot-net and dot-org variation. The rest of us should be able to register innovative addresses without unreasonable fear that some big businesses years later will be able to pluck them away.

That danger exists, thanks to the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Congress approved it in 1999 over the objections of free speech advocates. One anxiety: The law might even rope in non-commercial sites that consumers set up to protest dubious business practices. Sometimes these dom-com addresses attach the word ''boycott'' to a brand name. One legal theory says the law could ensnare them if the sites divert confused customers.

That hasn't happened, yet. But the law has given the courts and companies a heavy-handed weapon to fight people who register addresses that seem to resemble or play off of well-known trademarks.

Companies haven't been shy about using it. They've filed more than 700 lawsuits for injunctions or damages in federal courts in the last six months, according to the National Law Journal. Many of the court actions are just reaching the appellate level. Decisions there will provide the first inkling of whether the law is a threat to creative expression on the Internet.

It's a shame that the mushrooming of domain-name litigation in federal courts has received scant attention. When it comes to controversies over addresses, focus has been on the private arbitration agencies certified by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

These mediation services are cheap and even operate through e-mail. The ease comes with a downside: Whenever in the slightest doubt, arbitrators guided by few rules overwhelmingly favor trademark owners.

The federal bench ought to be better equipped to issue more balanced opinions. But many judges are unaccustomed to -- and therefore don't appreciate -- a free-wheeling online culture that celebrates different uses of words and letters in Web names. Entrepreneurs believe that the first to take the initiative to register addresses should get them, but I worry that that won't sit well with old-school judicial practices.

The 2nd Circuit last June, for instance, ruled that Sporty's Farms in Connecticut couldn't use even though the Christmas tree seller grabbed the address before anyone else. Why? Because an aviation-products business marketed its catalog under the ''sportys'' name.

Unlike in private arbitration, misguided judgments in federal court carry extreme risks. The hardest penalty in mediation only entails relinquishing a Web address. The Consumer Protection Act gives gives judges the authority to award up to $100,000 in trademark infringement damages, if the defendant registered the address after November 1999.

The law also has a fast track to shut down Web sites before full trials. For example, within one day of asking for a temporary restraining order against, Dell Computer last month obtained it from a federal court. There was a consent judgment within a week to shutter the site and transfer its registration.

Dell deserved to get the address because the evidence suggested that the Web site operator, based in South Korea, was trading off Dell's good name. But the case shows the quickness of the new legal process that Congress created. Add to it the possibility of big money in attorney fees and infringement damages, and this will be enough to bully even the innocent into caving. How many of the 700 lawsuits filed in the last six months will be settled out of fear alone?

Lots, I suspect.
Memo: Opinion
Web Names
Travis Armstrong is a Mercury News editorial writer.
Edition: Morning Final
Section: Editorial
Page: 10B

8/18/2006 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Jose Mercury News (CA)
November 21, 2000
Estimated printed pages: 3

A MERE $35 is all the money required to register an Internet domain name that could throw lawyers for Fortune 1000 companies into a tizzy. ''That new dot-com address infringes on our trademarks,'' they'd screech.

The Internet swelled in popularity as a decentralized, interactive playhouse for the little guy. So today anyone with some spare cash has the power to reach a global audience and along the way cause much grief for big businesses.

The law must adapt to include speedier ways to stop and punish that bad behavior. But let's hold up a bit before getting too creative -- or risk establishing slipshod legal institutions. There are good reasons to fear that the cry for fast solutions to cyber turf wars may lead us to a place where fairness is sacrificed for efficiency.

Online mischief especially has become a migraine for companies worried about protecting their copyrights, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property.

Consider disputes involving music piracy on the Web. The recording industry has relied on that old standby -- the court battle -- to curtail the problem. It has filed lawsuit after lawsuit against the Web sites that allow free downloads of songs. A German media powerhouse this month took the next step by snapping up part of Napster, the music-sharing service that's been needling the studios.

Don't lose sleep over the Napsters of the online world. That master marketeer traded on a counter-culture image -- ''Look kids, our founder is a teenager!'' -- to build up business. Reality is that the venture capitalists and corporate suits have long controlled it. And the recording studios, to their credit, at least have been upfront about their tactics -- lawsuits and corporate buy-outs -- to control the online trading of copyrighted music.

These old-school tactics, although disparaged by the Internet community, are favorable to rushing to establish newfangled legal systems to resolve disputes. Take the fast online process set up to settle controversies over the rights to a domain name. Overwhelmingly, it tends to favor commercial interests over the Internet's small fry.

Here's how this ''cybercourt'' approach works: Companies that claim a dot-com address infringes their trademark just e-mail a complaint to an arbitration agency approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. When signing up for a Web address, the registration contracts bind losers in arbitration hearings to surrender their domain names.

A cybercourt defendant could be in Massachusetts. The plaintiff in Brazil. The judge in Argentina. The courthouse in Switzerland. E-mail bridges the geography. A ruling comes within weeks.

That's what transpired in a case recently heard by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a U.N. affiliate in Geneva and the most widely used of the resolution agencies. The case involved the rights to the word ''corinthians'' in a dot-com address. A Boston man planned to use the site to post musings about the Bible. A pro soccer team in Brazil with that name wanted it. The soccer team won -- just as trademark holders do time and time again in the cybercourts.

Sure, the cybercourts are easy and economical -- the exact qualities people want from the Internet and the legal system. So far, the World Intellectual Property Organization has used cybercourts to sort out 1,000 claims. Trademark holders have been victors in 3 out of 4 cases.

America's trademark laws have evolved over decades into a nuanced system that balances competing interests. Judges and juries today aren't knee-jerk in their decisions. That's why Delta Airlines, Delta Faucet, Delta Dental and mom-and-pop shops with names such as Delta Hardware in Louisiana can peacefully coexist. The law looks at different industries, markets, extent of public recognition and other factors before handing a single company the legal monopoly over a specific word.

Not so with the online dispute resolution agencies. They render decisions based on a few simplistic guidelines. U.S. trademark law gets ignored even though both defendant and plaintiff often are Americans.

But there's a larger problem beyond the Sesame Street approach of these cybercourts. They're being hailed as models to resolve other Internet scuffles. They're the first step in what likely ''will be a long journey toward the design of the new set of legal institutions that will be setting rules and creating a degree of order for the global network,'' according to David Post, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and former domain-name arbitrator.

Let's hope not. Today's domain-name cybercourts are easy and cheap to use. But don't be taken in by their deceptive convenience. Online courts should value fairness and thoroughness over speed and economy.
Travis Armstrong is a Mercury News editorial writer.
Edition: Morning Final
Section: Editorial
Page: 6B

8/18/2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Update on 8/23: I heard from Erik Davis about the domain and his interest is clearly not malicious -- in fact he seems like a great guy. I wouldn't want anyone to think otherwise considering the post I mentioned him on was about some rather predatory domain grabbing. We are in conversation about it now by email and I'll keep everyone updated about how it goes should anything come of it.

8/23/2006 10:13 PM  

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