News Debacle, Courtesy of AOL

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What happened!?

After the auction for the domain was completed, Marcos Guillen, owner of the domain since 1997 was awaiting payment. Before making the payment, Divyank Turakhia owner of and winning bidder in the auction for received word from AOL (Time Warner Inc) that they had filed a trademark dispute for AOL claims are something like this – Since they own, and is such a popular abbreviation for their own name they now believe they have rights to take thru an infringement lawsuit. Not surprisingly, AOL had filed for a trademark on sometime last year when they realized the domain would be auctioned off. Instead of bidding to purchase the domain, they threw a monkey wrench in the completed sale by filing the trademark infringement suit.

Realizing the potential litigation that may be necessary to protect the winning bidder Divyank of has refused to pay for the domain. In response the seller, Mr. Guillen decided to file a lawsuit against Divyank and for failure to follow through with the auction purchase.

This is a nightmare for all parties involved and the domain name community. What has happened is that AOL interfered in a sale between two legit business people with their outlandish claims that they have rights to a  domain name which is not and never was infringing on their brand. Stuck in the middle is Moniker, the company that was in charge of running the auction at the 2009 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference. Not only will they lose out on their biggest commission check from that auction, they also lose credibility in the eyes of serious domain name investors.

[EDIT] According to Elliot’s most recent blog post, employees and many people in the AOL family have been using the term “” when referring to their site “” for quite some time now. This is the foundation of their whole case. Seriously, who uses a nickname for their URL by calling it another URL that they don’t own, then claim rights to that domain? Rubbish.  I think that AOL is sour that the domain could have exchanged hands for a mere $1.4 million, since they purchased the far inferior back in 2004 for a whopping $435 million. Just today I saw another story of AOL going after a similar domain, with more frivolous if not spurious claims against its owner.

Ultimately, AOL will likely lose it’s infringement case(s) and the domains will be more valuable as a result of it. I spent a couple hours just reading various news sources and blogs to fully understand what is going on and all parties involved are reacting the way they are. Below are some links to check out if you want to read a bit more about this debacle. The Circular Firing Squad. Ready, Fire, Aim! Huh? Lawsuits AOL Claim To Is Based More On A Pending Trademark… Sues Skenzo, Oversee and Guillen Explain Their Sides

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  • Wow! Way to go AOL. Now this is a big mess! I think AOL mainly filed a lawsuit because it was going for auction. Also it is stupid using as a term for their domain, I mean it is a domain name. You can call, Truly a big mess!

  • This is just preposterous. To claim that and is the same is totally ridiculous. I can’t wait for AOL to fall flat on their asses.

  • As of August 2012 “” is a joke. Here’s the info:

    IP Location: Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
    Website Status: inactive
    Server Type: Apache
    Alexa Trend/Rank: 1 Month: 993,526 3 Month: 1,168,151
    Page Views per Visit: 1 Month: 1.0 3 Month: 1.0

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