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Recently I sent the following e-mail to the /img/avatar9.jpgs of Mbendi,com.

(mbendi is an online business information site geared towards Africa and based in South Africa).

Dear Sir/Madam,.

>I am selling the domain MBENDI,mobi for Euro 250.

>Mobi is the internet extension for Mobile phones. More info can be found.

>on .mobi's official website:http://mtld.mobi/.

>If you are interested in aquiring this piece of mobile virtual property.

>please contact me at (my e-mail address).

Regards.

(my name and surname).

Here is the reply I just got:.

Dear Mr. (my name and surname).

Thank you for your notes.

Please be advised that if the domain mbendi,mobi is not transferred.

To our /img/avatar9.jpgship at no cost to us by midnight on 24th January 2008,.

We plan to lay a charge of theft of intellectual property and.

Extortion against you and your company with the Netherlands police.

We were already aware of the activities of your company and have.

Brought them to the attention of our various audiences so they too.

Can taken legal action against your company.

Regards.

(Name of /img/avatar9.jpg of mbendi).

Now the tone of this response upset me and I have done the following:.

I have cancelled the domain in question..

I have e-mailed the /img/avatar9.jpg of mbendi and told him I did not appreciate his reply and that I have cancelled the domain and if he wishes he can go and register it himself.

I checked uptsto(TESS) by the way there is no trademark on this name. Also I dont know what he refers to when he says "my activities" as I have only parked the domain with SEDO and did nothing with it further then that and the .mobi version showed no links that were in any way related to the .com site.

If he had been friendly I would have given him the domain for nothing. And I dont even have a company...

Comments (33)

Call the police and have you arrested for "extortion". Wow, that's pretty extreme. I hope you work this out as you make great contributions to this forum...

Comment #1

What did you expect ? You infringed on their Brand/Site name .....

Comment #2

Very sad for you and your family - not good news to close the year 2007. Are the laws so rigid in Holland? I wish you all the best during this difficult time...

Comment #3

Did you get any refund when you canceled your mobi domain?..

Comment #4

"Did you get any refund when you canceled your mobi domain?".

No I did not nor did I ask for any. Extortion? HUH? Mbendi is based in South Africa and the Dutch police here in Holland are certainly not going to bother about this like he seems to think. Anyway I did nothing wrong, the name is not even trademarked and is an African generic name. I would have given it to him for free but since he was so threatening I just cancelled the domain to be rid of all this...

Comment #5

In the legal section - Bots can't crawl this thread.

You say you checked USPTO - But that is only for registered items here in the US , You have to remember there are many countries/territories out there to worry about brands in. When I search google for this "term" - I only see Raw listings (Many pertaining to this site/company) - But more important to me is that I Don't see any ads at the top or on the right hand side where Google places sponsored listings..

If there aren't any sponsored listings , Either the term would be difficult to monetize -or- Theres a chance it's a protected brand (Not that google has a problem with showing ads like this all of the time).

There are plenty of stories out there about being successful at selling a domain of another extension to a site owner on a different extension , But what you don't see is the thousands of problems people ran into like this. Many sales pitches were ignored , many were turned down, Many ran into a person/company that is dead serious about protecting their Brand.

If the term isn't generic or considered Common use - You really have to be careful.

This isn't directly related to your story Binary - But It shows how serious this is becoming in this industry : http://www.domainnamenews.com/legal-...ocked-out/1351.

That Registrar may not be the "Usual" registrar we use everyday - But could you imagine all of your domains being locked down due to someone else Tasting TM's ?

Comment #6

Thnx for your reply Mark,.

I dunno. I figured let me just cancel the domain and wash my hands of it. That's good enough is it not? Or do you think the Dutch police will now come and arrest me and extredite me to South Africa to be thrown in jail there? For what? Because I wanted to sell a .mobi domain for Euro 250.

The mbendi guys dont have anything about TM rights on their site either only copyright on their articles. Look I dont want trouble so that is why I just cancelled the domain. If they had been more friendly in their approach I would have just transferred it to them for nothing...

Comment #7

Any international lawsuit will cost him more than the 250 EU, in my opinion he looks like he is just pissed off. Even if he had the resources (which is in doubt), it wouldn't make sense for him/her to do it. Now that you cancelled the domain, there is less reasons for them to do this.

I believe also that on his/her letter, they shouldn't ask for the domain be transfered to them at no cost, that is in it's own (in my mind) could be considered extortion by those standards.

I am not a lawyer and this is just my opinion...

Comment #8

I'm guessing you knew what company was before you purchased the domain, would you not be a bit angered if the shoe was on the other foot? My guess is yes. I would not expect to hear anything further from them. Most of his response seemed a scare tactic, but you must admit his tone was well warranted...

Comment #9

Google "mbendi." ALL of the search results I got relate to the Mbendi company. So just be glad that they might just go away.

Happy holidays...

Comment #10

No his tone was not..

I originally regged Mbendi as that is my dogs name. I hail from Africa too originally..

MBendi, by the way, is defined as a composite African word meaning "the knowledge that brings wisdom."..

Comment #11

Careful he might threaten to take your dog as well!.

Best of luck..

Comment #12

Well my dog passed on about a month ago that's why I tried to sell the domain. Certainly was'nt trying to extort anyone...

Comment #13

I don't believe you about the dog. And I think the companies reaction is justified.

Domainers here are smart enough to spot a sales pitch bred from a cybersquatter and I guess so is Mbendi...

Comment #14

It would be interesting to know how long you have had this domain.

When did you first register it?..

Comment #15

It doesn't matter what I believe...what does Mbendi believe. Can you imagine telling a company "well I registered the name because that's my dogs name"? It's been used before and it's a laughable excuse. I just simple don't believe it as an excuse to register a domain and then contact a company offering it for sale.

Even IF he did have a dog named Mbendi...the action to sell to the company was in bad faith and is evidence of cybersquatting. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/d...2000-1549.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/d...2002-1012.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/d...2000-0428.html (personal fav)..

Comment #16

I agree 100%. What did you plan on doing? Setting up a mobile website for your dog?..

Comment #17

I don't claim to speak African, but I do have some experience looking up words by definition, or finding definitions for specific words in African. In all cases, there were a plethora of sites with the corresponding words or definitions.

In the case of Mbendi... All results for the word relate to the company. And all results for the definition you provided relate to the company as well. There isn't a single result that validates your claim that mbendi is a common word. Your exact words here were lifted from a web article specifically talking about Mbendi the company. Article.

In all honesty, I think in this case "composite" refers to "made up." As in, the company mixed two African words together to create a completely unique and brandable word and then assigned a definition to it. This practice happens daily in company branding...

Comment #18

I'm guessing that this might now end this thread. What a good way to try & build a defense for yourself after the fact? nice catch Ronald Regging..

Comment #19

I found that before too...I had a long post but I realized it wasn't in the spirit of Christmas so I deleted it.

Merry Christmas everyone ..even cybersquatters...

Comment #20

Even I am not always agreeing what labrocca is saying, calling him a "Dog" is not appropiate.....he was called before different names....but not a dog... :-).

And here in this thread I am backing him up 100% !!....you called him a dog because he caught up on you, you made a BS excuse, he caught up on you beeing a...CYBERSQUATTER!!! face it.....you try to sell your domain to a well known, branded company/website.

And even more weak is your comment about " my dog passed away"....if you would have had a dog who passed away, you wouldn't sell after 1 month the domain name......if you would, why are you claiming the whole "i loved my dog so much story" ??....even you would get one listener who might believe you( because they don't know better) who would reg a .mobi domain for his dog anyway.....c'mon.........:-).

Even it is Christmas Eve tonight, I would like to ask the mods to "degrade " you, binaryman to a regular member because you don't deserve to be a "senior member".......a Senior member should held up the standards of our community very high, be polite, be wise...and not be a CYBERSQUATTER who is responsible for destroying the reputation of Domainers!!.

I never met you but reading your post gives me no other choice than posting this here...and now.....and also....cancelling the domain was probably the worst what you could do....that is not helping you if it comes to be responsible, they even can sue you when they cannot register their domain again..."read the forum over and over again" is my advice......

Btw, what happend to the posting from namenut...or the response from binaryman to labroccas post where he named him "a dog"..did I miss something??.

Wonder wonder....but anyway......hapy holidays 2 everyone......

Cheers,.

Frank..

Comment #21

It would be interesting to know how long you have had this domain.

When did you first register it?.

Regged in November 2006.

Look thanks all for your terrific response. Maybe I did things the wrong way but it was not my intention to extort anyone. I checked the upsto and madrid protocol databases and there is no trademark. Also there is no mention on the mbendi website of a trademark. When I regged the name originally in November 2006 I was under the impression that it was quite ok to register a name as long as there were no tm's on it that were violated. Anyway yes I never had a dog called mbendi so sorry about that one but I had to try and justify myself.

You can in fact all enjoy yourselves thoroughly now as I have thrown myself to the wolves here. Suicide is my next thought. I have a unstable mental background anyhow and now that my blood is being bayed for here ..what the hell. I am about to cancel my entire .mobi collection as I am completely fed up with domaining and domainers in general. In fact most of you are cybersquatters in some way or another as much as I am.

Stuff the whole world and all it's double standards. I am sick of all this. I am getting out of domaining and this is my last post here. Please MODS take note and cancel my membership and also give the 2 .com domains I have regged here with namepros to someone who wants them. And my remaining NP's as well. That will be my last Xmas spirited thing I do.

( there are exeptions) Why do you think I posted this thread in the first place?? Because I like to be jumped on? No because I genuinely believed I had done nothing wrong that's why. OK maybe I am a stupid naieve mentally retarded idiot. Well nothing I can do about that ..too late now..

Regards and love each other over this festive season..

Have a fantastic life.

Goodbye..

Comment #22

Meltdown anyone? omg talk about overreaction... You get kudos for admitting it. The problem is that I believe NP has a solid base of intelligent domainers. We can spot BS pretty quick. It's part of the reason why this place isn't riddled with scams like DP. The police action is most likely just as much BS as your dog story.

Yup...it's an elite club. Look at my signature...certainly you can see obvious TM domains in my collection. What I don't do is contact the companies though...small difference but it helps to prevent being noticed. I bet mbendi would never have given a crap if you didn't contact them to begin with. Maybe you can fool yourself to believe that but you won't fool too many here.

You sent me a PM claiming me a hateful person. You don't know me...I don't know you. What I do know is that if you leave NP the only person to lose is YOU. Continue being a Namepros member and maybe that will change.

I personally am not a NP member to make enemies or spread hatred but at the same time it's not realistic that everyone gets along like best friends. I left the mobi forums simply because I wasn't feeling the love. I have a few people I deem antagonists in my ignore list. It works...try it. Feel free to add me or anyone else you believe brings you down.

This is domaining...it's a business. It has characters from all walks of life from all corners of the world. Consider this thread a learning experience. While we are all brothers in domaining...that doesn't mean we are sheep.

Merry Christmas and don't let this BS thread ruin your holiday.

-Jesse..

Comment #23

I don't feel bad...I just think you are being too hard on yourself. It's no fun ripping on you if you spiral down into a deep depressive state. Keep your spirits up...

Comment #24

As I live both in Kenya and Holland, I can assure you that the Dutch police will do nothing with any such requests from Mbendi and knowing how things work in Africa I highly doubt Mbendi will even take any action at all.

In my opinion, the Mbendi people just liked to scare you as they felt it was 'their' name you offered them.

If registered in 'bad faith', it's a good thing you cancelled it anyway.

No need to worry and have a nice Christmas..

Comment #25

Don't throw in the towel Fred, you've made a mistake and the best way to cope with it is to learn from it. File it away in your life experience cabinet and should a situation arise in your life - browse through your files and see if you can prevent it from happening again.

So domaining has been disappointing for you?.

Expand your drive you have in domaining into other online possibilities, for instance online marketing, like domaining it may not pay off right away, and you have some pitfalls you'll surely be presented with, but if you feel you're stagnated on the domaining aspect despite you feel you have domains with potential...then you need to keep looking for other opportunities.

Don't let it keep you down, there are tons of members that have good domains that don't seem to get any traction, and then at a later point they do get the traction they expected from it...sale inquiries, surge in type-in traffic, etc.

And I know it is disappointing to send out a bunch of emails to a list of companies you have carefully researched and in the end you don't even get a reply, I know it from first hand experience.

The thing is, you need to multi task as a upcoming domainer, try various things to balance things out...money wise.

You need to put your back into it to roll that boulder up the hill and roll it all the way to the top, and until that sweet moment in your life comes.

Where you have that boulder balancing on the top...taking a deep breath in and then a deep breath out...extending your finger and tipping the boulder over the hill and enjoy the life you get as a result of all your hard work and perseverance...

You need to put in hard work and stay focussed and driven!.

Have a great Christmas Fred and keep pushing that boulder up!..

Comment #26

There is a huge difference between getting the help you need, and creating some huge lie in order to get validation for your own wrongdoing.

You come here open and honestly and I'll do anything I can to help you. You come here full of deception and I'll string you up, but even that should help with either doing the right thing, or coming up with better lies in the future. Help might not always come in the form you are expecting, but it always comes.

Anyway, none of this was meant to be a personal attack and I apologize if it seemed that way. I really have no hard feelings against you and I think you did the right thing by being honest. Merry Christmas..

Comment #27

I'm sure some of you in this thread got a PM as well, (like I did) in various degrees of anger. Understand that no one is attacking you personally binaryman, if you had been straight out from the start none of this would now be an issue. You made a mistake & have since admitted doing so, just don't p*ss on our legs & tell us it's just raining. Don't overreact here, there is no malice intended.

Have a happy holiday, put all this BS behind you & grow from it. It's very simple..

Best of luck in the future...

Comment #28

Try your hand at development. It's not that hard...lots of free scripts and hosts are cheap. If I had to only sit around waiting for offers on my domains I would go nuts. I spend 60% of my time in development, 20% in domaining research (via wasting my time on various forums), and 20% of my time just fooling around playing Counter-Strike or other games...

Comment #29

Yep, find a suitable affiliate program for your domain(s) and turn your domain(s) into real websites, doing so will only increase the chance of a sale and even increase the overall value..

Comment #30

'Nuf said To me that name is clearly not generic. It is either a brandable domain and as such it is distinctive, and/or a word in an obscure language (zulu ?)..

BUT it is also a brand and you are perfectly aware of their brand since you contacted them. Evidence of bad faith established as per above..

It is not forbidden to contact end users but selling a variation or their brand is a no-no. Not to mention that not all end users understand the difference between domaining and cybersquatting so they sometimes overreach too...

PS: checking TM databases is OK but google alone would have shown you that mbendi is a well-known brand is SA....

Furthermore you can enjoy TM rights without filing (at least in American law)...

Comment #31

Guys..I offer my apologies to all. Please check this thread: http://www.namepros.com/showthread.p...72#post2417872.

Regards.

Fred..

Comment #32

Before I close this I want to commend Fred for standing up, taking his hits, and finally putting a positive spin on all this..

There are many lessons to be learned from this thread, not the least of which is no matter how deep we step into the pile, if we recognize our mistakes and move forward to remedy them, the stink will wash off.

Peace,.

Cyberian..

Comment #33


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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