Facebook takes on domain squatters

25 Mar 2011

Facebook is fighting to gain ownership of 21 domain names that use the term ‘Facebook’ which are owned by a company called Domain Asset Holding in the US.

According to TechCrunch, Maryland-based Domain Asset Holding is a known domain squatter and owns domains like KillFacebook.com, FacebookStuff.com and FacebookSafety.com.

Some of the domains up for sale, such as KillFacebook.com, for US$350, while others like FacebookCheats.com are priced at US$4,000 and AboutFacebook.com is priced at US$8,000.

It seems tech companies are fighting a never-ending battle with domain squatters and Apple and Microsoft have in the past year moved to seize a large number of domains.

Facebook’s Irish cyber-squatting case

In Ireland, Facebook had its own battle with ownership of its name. In 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) found in Facebook’s favour the case of an Irish company that registered the domain Facebook.ie, Siliconrepublic.com has learned.

According to a dispute resolution decision published on the IE Domain Registry website, a Dublin-based company called Talkbeans Media Limited registered the domain name Facebook.ie in February 2007 and then registered the name ‘Facebook’ as a registered business name with the Companies Registration Office in August 2007.

At the time, Facebook had only 57m users worldwide compared with the near 600m today.

Talkbeans, through its solicitors LK Shields, responded it no longer wanted the Facebook.ie domain and consented to its transfer without any admission of liability.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years