The domain had been purchased in 1999 by a company named Russian Communications and was used to redirect traffic to other online adult sites.
“I am pleased with this result,” Steele said. “I have been trying to get the domain back for years. Russian Communications used my name and my picture on the website, and was using it to sell anything and everything. I am sure people mistook this for my official website.”
In order to regain control of the domain, Steele had to file a domain dispute with ICANN. According to ICANN’s policy, complainants must prove that the registered domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark, that it was registered in bad faith, and that the register has no rights or legitimate interest in respect to the domain name.
The arbitration process took two months, according to Holly Pranger, principal partner of the Pranger Law Group and attorney for Steele.
“These porn squatters typically use adult performers’ names, like LexingtonSteele.com, to drive traffic to commercial websites, where they usually sell advertising and adult entertainment,” Pranger said. “The porn squatters rarely, if ever, have legitimate rights to use the names and we are usually successful in getting the domain names back to the owners through the domain dispute process.”
Steele also holds a trademark in his own name which contributed to the arbitration panel's judgment in his favor, Pranger said.
“Adult entertainment is a billion-dollar industry and these domain names are worth a great deal of money,” Pranger said. “The entertainers who have worked hard to create the recognition and goodwill associated with their performer names should have the right to control how those names and trademarks are used. It is an atrocity that these porn squatters wrongfully profit from them and they should be stopped.”
In addition to the newly reacquired LexingtonSteele.com, Steele also owns LexSteele.com and LexOnBlondes.com, which are administered by BrainCash and SteeleCash.