Branson gives .xxx cybersquatter the heave-ho

The Virgin boss has emerged victorious from his domain battle over RichardBranson.xxx. Beardy: 1. Pornster: 0.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 01 Apr 2014
When Richard Branson discovered that the domain richardbranson.xxx was alive and kicking – and not owned by him – it gave him some cause for concern. What kind of content would be featured on the site? What would it do to Virgin’s reputation? The mind boggles.

Luckily for Branson, he’s found a way out of the pickle (geddit?). He lodged a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the e-powers that be have ruled in his favour.

Here's the story so far: On December 10, just four days after the .xxx domains were released, Aussie Sean Truman picked up the domain for a few dollars, ostensibly as a ‘souvenir’. A souvenir of what? It’s anyone’s guess. This week, WIPO ruled that Truman purchased richardbranson.xxx ‘in bad faith’. The domain has now been transferred into Virgin’s possession. But fear not, even Richard Branson isn’t publicity-mad enough to launch his own porn venture. Or is he...

Most likely, Richardbranson.xxx will simply be buried deep in Virgin’s domain banks, and classed as a ‘non-resolver’: anyone that goes to the address will receive an error message. But MT reckons this could be prime April Fools material for the Bearded One. If you're reading, Sir Richard, MT wants a hat tip for the suggestion.

Branson isn’t the first to lodge an .xxx complaint through the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (catchy title). Turkish ecommerce giant Markafoni was the first company to launch a dispute over .xxx cybersquatting (the complaint is dated December 29). Fox Studios also dodged a bullet when its claim against a cybersquatter was upheld. An unnamed individual bought foxstudios.xxx and was attempting to flog it for $1,975,000 US. So far, there have been 13 cases filed - and this problem isn't going to go away any time soon.

So, readers, don’t fall victim to the porno pack. Register your .xxx domain before somebody else does...

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