SEATTLE — The owner of AdultWoot.com was ordered to give up her domain name last month to Woot.com, the daily deals website owned by online retailer Amazon, after arbitrators ruled that the online adult DVD store's name was cybersquatting.
The decision by National Arbitration Forum came after panelists found that Amazon had "sufficient evidence" to show that AdultWoot's operators had knowledge of Woot.com's trademark prior to registering the domain name. Woot.com started operating in 2004 and later was picked up by Amazon.
AdultWoot's owner, May, in a written declaration to arbitrators said that she was being "singled out" because she owns an adult-based business and that a negative ruling would be devastating.
May told arbitrators that she spent time and money in obtaining opt-in emails, repeat business, SEO and webhosting.
"If Amazon takes away my domain, I will lose all returning traffic, my honest hard work and my income," she wrote at the time.
As a result of the arbitrators' decision, May and her IT director have moved on with a new name — AdultDeals.com — but they aren't happy with the ruling.
"AdultWoot and Woot are totally different sites," company IT Director Ben told XBIZ. But "Woot showed that they sold DVDs — children types to better their case — and made it out to be that we’re smearing their children DVD sales with adult DVD sales.
"Regardless of all of my valid points [to arbitrators], they were determined to steal the AdultWoot.com domain name," Ben said.
Industry attorney Marc Randazza said that cybersquatting case could have gone another direction and that May's story should be a cautionary tale.
"She appears to have not taken the matter seriously enough to retain counsel," Randazza told XBIZ. "This case could have been won, and could have been won rather cheaply. She sure saved a bundle doing it herself."