Protecting an athlete's (or even your) online identity


by Joey Kirk 11-10-2009 11:57 PM

While the news is a little dated by now, the effects of Chris Bosh’s win against a cybersquatter will last forever.

The Toronto Rapters’ star, along with his lawyers at Winston & Strawn LLP and partner company Max Deal Technologies, won a case against Luis Zavala, former owner of Hoopology.com and nearly 800 domain names of basketball players, other athletes (some high school) and celebrities.

Zavala was forced to hand over all of the domains over because of the Federal Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, and Chris Bosh is currently giving them back to their rightful owners. You can find a list of the domain names here.

Cybersquatting is no joke. Trying to profit off of one’s name by either reselling the domain name at a premium or using the domain name of an athlete or public figure in bad graces can result in huge fines, legal fees, and ultimately the compelled transfer of the domain registration.

Recently, 5M Sports and one of its clients had a run-in with a similar situation. Once we contacted the owner of the domain name, we offered him a reasonable amount for two domain names. He didn’t accept, and counter-offered for much, much more. We explained the potential consequences of his actions thoroughly and tried to reason with him. He remained firm in his pleading for thousands of dollars for two simple domain names.

After a two-week process of exchanging emails and phone calls, 5M Sports and I almost gave up. We left the decision with the athlete’s management company, which decided to wait and see. However, just two days ago, we received an email from the owner of the domains, apologizing for his words and actions, and offering the domains to us at a more than reasonable amount.

Now, we are the owners of our client’s domain names, including four other variations of his name, as well for what it would have cost had we went through GoDaddy.com or any other registration web site.

While purchasing domain names may seem simple, it can sometimes be a pain if someone else owns the rights to the domain you are seeking.

If you are buying a domain for a particular athlete, you should take a look into who owns the domain by using Whois.org, and why they own it. A person has the right to a domain if their name is that of the domain name. While there are many Joey Kirks in the world, I was able to purchase it before any of the others. And because my name is legally Joey Kirk, no one can claim I am holding onto it for the wrong reasons.

Other options to look for when purchasing domain names, if your chosen one has been purchased and is being utilized legally, is to add the athlete’s jersey number at the end or place a hyphen between the player’s first and last name. These are just a few of the many other combinations you can develop when selecting a domain name.

At 5M Sports, we also recommend you purchase as many domain names linked to a player’s identity to ensure the limitation of “anti-sites" appearing online. And it goes further than just purchasing domain names.

As technology consultants, when we begin working with a client, we intend on trying to protect their online presence and identity. We gather all domains and sites with their information to ensure someone does not try and “steal” their identity or use it for the wrong reasons. From Twitter to Facebook to MySpace to domain purchasing, we recommend taking a proactive step in securing those names to make sure their online identity is protected and not being used for the wrong reasons.

If you would like more information about this, you can contact me directly at joey.kirk@5msports.com or check out our site at www.5msports.com.
 


Published 11-10-2009 © 2020 Access Athletes, LLC


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