GoldmanSex Loses Domain Battle to Blue Chip Banker

GoldmanSex Loses Domain Battle to Blue Chip Banker
Michael Hayes
NEW YORK — Adult entertainment portal GoldmanSex will have to turn over its domain name to high-powered investment bank Goldman Sachs after a National Arbitration Forum ruled in favor of the financial institution.

The New York-based banking company submitted a complaint to the NAF in July, arguing the domain name would cause confusion and contained links to objectionable adult material. The NAF mediates disputes over Internet domain names.

GoldmanSex provides a large global directory for adult entertainment — mostly strip clubs and escort agencies — targeted to business travelers. Site owner Rob Muller, who resides in the Netherlands, says the site contains listings for 5,000 clubs and escort agencies in 300 of the largest business centers in the world.

"I cannot imagine that a [potential] client of Goldman Sachs would misspell the domain name into 'Goldmansex,'” Muller said. "I also find it hard to believe that GS clients would think this is a new kind of product line of GS. In that case, they really have to work on their corporate image."

While Muller tried and failed to persuade the NAF that the feud between the companies was a trademark dispute that he should win, the arbitrator ruled Muller had illegally registered the domain name.

"This domain name dispute centers on an attempt by respondent to recharacterize the domain dispute in the instant case as a trademark dispute, when in fact, the real issue is the respondent's bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name," NAF arbitrator Robert Pfeuffer said.

The Goldmansex site is no longer operational. A landing page details Muller’s response to the NAF ruling and directs users to a similar site, Goldmensex.com. There also is a PayPal link for users to donate funds to Muller’s appeal, which is being handled by attorney Bernard Dietz.