XYZ HAS BIG DAY… AND POSSIBLY BIGGER LEGAL BILLS

 

veri_sign

Google’s corporate reorganization as Alphabet -- with its primary web address at www.abc.xyzrather than at a .com – could be a tipping point in the battle between Verisign Inc.’s .com top-level domain and new top-level domains such as .xyz that are competing for registrations.  

That’s how Daniel Negari, the CEO of .xyz.com LLC registry, sees it. “No longer do you have to get a long domain that doesn’t make sense, but now you can get the .xyz that you’ve always wanted,” Negari said in an Aug. 12 interview with Bloomberg Television.

Negari’s take on the difficulty of finding available .com domain names mimicked earlier statements that have embroiled him and Xyz in a legal battle with Verisign, the 900-pound gorilla of the domain name registry business. The upstart registry made a similar statement in a video advertisement, as did Negari himself in an interview with National Public Radio. 

Verisign filed a complaint last December alleging deceptive advertising and unfair trade practices claims by Xyz under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), largely based on the earlier statements, along with alleged misrepresentations by Xyz regarding the number of .xyz registrants. Verisign claims that the millions of .com domain names registered every quarter make it literally false that it’s “impossible” to find a desirable .com domain name. Verisign also accused Negari of being a serial typosquatter (allegedly registering, for instance, faceboook.com with 3 o’s) citing prior lawsuits by Facebook and by Goodwill Industries against his former company Cyber2Media Inc.

Xyz doesn’t deny the quotations but denies any wrongdoing. (Negari settled both typosquatting suits, according to court documents.)

The two companies have traded a flurry of motions and other filings in the case during the last several months. Although it’s too early to say how the case will turn out, Verisign’s aggressive litigation strategy sends a clear signal to newer registries that they should think twice about calling out .com by name when promoting their own offerings. 

As for Negari, he sent his own signal during the Aug. 12 interview. When asked how much longer .com will be “king” in the domain space, he responded, “I think it’s over.” 

That remains to be seen. But in any event, Negari will likely be dealing with Verisign in court for some time to come.