Robert Tyler of Walthamstow launched the site in 2007 to publicise ‘horror stories’ about Ryanair’s services. Now he’s been ordered to hand over his (beautifully blunt) domain name to Michael O’Leary’s outfit - which he describes as ‘the world’s most hated airline’ - principally because the site started making money.
So, not just a case of spotting an opportunity then? Not according to the budget carrier. Ryanair was angry that the website took unfair advantage of its name, and claimed it hosted damaging and defamatory articles - including false comments about the airline’s safety, maintenance and operating standards.
But the problem wasn't so much that Tyler was slagging the airline off. The defendant was able to argue to Nominet, the body that resolves domain name disputes in the UK, that it wasn’t defamatory – because there was already so much dissatisfaction with Ryanair’s services that he wasn’t actually damaging its reputation (worrying enough in itself, we'd argue). Adjudicator Jane Seager agreed that Tyler’s critical content didn’t constitute 'unfair disruption'. Rather, she said, it was actually trying to draw attention to its issues in order to resolve them.