GoogleDashboard.com the Truth Behind the Speculation

Part of the fun and danger of the blogosphere and things moving at the speed of the internet, is quite often things get misinterpreted. Many times I intentionally leave questions unanswered, hoping to generate a little buzz with speculation to fill in th gaps. In this case however I’m goingto do the opposite, I’m actually going to give you the inside scoop.

Timeline: April 22, 2005
I was checking out the new google search history feature in a cleverly titled post called Google Dashboard. However unbeknownst to almost everyone about 15 minutes earlier I registered the domain name GoogleDashboard.com. A sweet and catchy domain name to be sure. My head was filled with dreams of cyber-squatting riches. I figured in a few years someone at the ‘plex would decide they wanted it, and for my clevernes and 15 minutes of work I’d end up pocketing a few thousand dollars.

Timeline: November 25th 2005
I attended Las Vegas Pubcon Domain Name and Legal Issue’s Panel. I first became aquainted with the terms WIPO and UDRP. I also met Jeff Libert and Monte Chan. Who I’m sure don’t remember it but were nice enough to answer a few of my questions after the session.

Timeline: April 18, 2005
Boston Pubcon I attended the Affiliate Microsites and Niche Marketing which is actually a really dangerous session for creative people. Ted Ulle, Chris Ramondi, and Jeff Libert are three clever people. I registered three or four new keyword domain names that afternoon. Owning quite a few more names with tradmarks in them I mentioned this to Jeff later in conference and he did a really good job of planting the seed that I was looking for trouble.

Timeline: April 22, 2006
Despite registerfly having the most cumbersome, byzantine, unnecessarily overly complex domain renewal system I somehow managed to complete the domain renewal for GoogleDashboard.com. At this point I started to wonder what could I actually do with the domain. I knew that if I wanted to keep it I really should do something soon to show that it wasn’t a registration made in “bad faith”. I thought about making it a parody site, a tongue in cheek site poking fun at every “newsworthy” thing Google did. Sort of a GrayHatNews with stories fictionalized to the point of absurdity, so much that it was the search engine version of the Weekly World News. However I realized that with the rate Google does things, I would be starting another high maintenance project, not something I needed.

Timeline: August 2006
I received my first pending legal action threatening domain name email. After doing some research I realized my [brandname]-reviews.com website was squarely in the sights of a legal team with more firepower than I had so I quickly folded.

Timeline: September 2006
I received my second brand name domain pending legal action email. After examining the firepower on the other side I folded a second time.

Timeline: October 2006
My third brand name domain issue where I was again out matched. At this point I came to the conclusion that Jeff was indeed correct I was looking for trouble having trademarked names in my portfolio, and it was just a matter of time before someone actually wanted more than the domain. I shut off auto renewal on all of my trademarked domains.

Timeline: October 19, 2006
I still had the domain GoogleDashboard.com but wasn’t sure what to do with it. I emailed a few friends who came back with the exact same response to get rid of it ASAP. Now I could have just let it expire and fall into the drop however, that would be knowingly allowing someone else to pick up a domain I knew was trouble, and in my mind that would be professionally irresponsible. So I decided the best course would be to contact Matt and see if he could point me in the right direction on how to transfer it to Google. Just so we’re clear I volunteered to give the domain to Google of my own free will, without compensation monetary, or otherwise, now or at any other future date. There were no black SUV’s or helicopters outside my house, no big goons who said “hey fuhgetaboutit”, or no Armani wearing suits twisting my virtual arm to capitulate to their demands. The decision was mine and made specifically to decrease the likely hood I might experience any negative growth at a future date. After working out the details the domain transfer happend last week.

Timeline: October 28, 2006
ZDNet posted the following:

» GDrive domain transferred to Google

Another interesting transfer on Wednesday was GoogleDashboard.com — it was previously registered to someone in New York. The only thing I can imagine this domain representing is Google ramping up development for Apple’s Dashboard on OSX — they already have a few dashboard widgets, maybe we will see more soon?

I have emailed the author to give him the truth behind the transfer.

Moral of the Story
1) First don’t buy any trademarked domains, no really I mean it don’t!

2) The real value of going to conferences, engaging and networking with other people is so you have a support group who can help you when you need it. So if someone asks you for help it’s a good idea to create some good karma whenever possible.

3) Remember speculation is just that, speculation. It’s fun to let our imaginations run wild with ideas, but try to remember what’s real and what’s not and not let things get out of hand.

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