What would you do about a cyber-squatter?

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Services for Real Estate Pros

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To say that I am blown away and shocked at the nerve and audacity of people would be an understatement.

What would you do if you spent 15 years building up the most successful real estate agency in a resort area, with one of the best websites available, and maybe 1/4 of your considerable traffic (almost 2000 visitors per day) came from people directly typing in your domain or company name...

You're a Century 21 Agent.  Your family name is Harrelson, and the agency name is C21 The Harrelson Group.

Your website is www.C21TheHarrelsonGroup.com.


One day you get an email from another local C21 agent informing you that another real estate company in town...NOT a C21 agent, and certainly NOT affiliated with you, and certainly NOT having an owner named Harrelson, had purchased the domain name  www.Century21Harrelson.com

Anyone typing that into Google or the address bar gets redirected to THEIR website.  Click on it and see where it takes you. 

Is this not the tackiest (if not the most illegal) thing you have ever seen?  I told Greg to get his attorney on the ball immediately.  THE NERVE!  What do you all think?  I'm furious and it's not even my company!

 

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Tags:
cyber squatting
myrtle beach
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copyright infringment
c21 the harrelson group

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Rainer
6,874
Tim Fish
Coldwell Banker Legacy - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque Real Estate

Wow.  I would go all in with all guns blazing!  I would even get the C21 attorneys involved.

Apr 09, 2012 05:31 AM #1
Rainer
44,718
Fran and Rowena, La Canada Realtors - (818) 952-0077
Dilbeck Real Estate - La Canada, CA

Jan - I thought that was illegal?   I think I would take all measures possible to protect my corporate identity.

Apr 09, 2012 05:32 AM #2
Rainmaker
208,576
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

I told him to call C21 and see if there was something they could do too.  I hope he sues the britches off somebody!

Apr 09, 2012 05:36 AM #3
Ambassador
2,747,077
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Interesting.

1.  Is the name "harrelson" trademarked?

2.  Is the company name trade name protected in the state?

3.  Since the owner of that company is not either a C21 agent/broker and not named Harrelson, this just might be a case of cybersquatting. 

4.  It surely violated the NAR policies and probably state license law too, if they are licensees.

GEEZ!!

Apr 09, 2012 05:42 AM #4
Ambassador
2,747,077
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I just checked,

www.Century21Harrelson.com

doesn't go anywhere.

Apr 09, 2012 05:45 AM #5
Rainmaker
208,576
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Hmmm, I hadn't even thought about the Board of Realtors doing something.  That's something I will suggest to him as well.

I don't know if he trademarked Harrelson.  I doubt it.  You just don't think of somebody using your family name like that.  He needs to do it after this, though.  Thanks for that idea, Len.

Apr 09, 2012 05:49 AM #6
Rainmaker
298,596
Bud & Beth McKinney
RE/MAX UNITED - Cary, NC
Cary/Raleigh/Apex NC - The Team That Cares, RE/MAX United

Something must have been done because that link leads no where now. The nerve though...wow.

Apr 09, 2012 05:50 AM #7
Rainmaker
208,576
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

HA!  I'll bet he got his lawyer on the phone and put a stop to it as soon as he showed it to me and I had a fit.  That was some FAST action, there.  The NERVE of these people!  At least it's down, though.

For the record, it was being redirected to www.docksiderealtycompany.com/   Here is the DNS registration information...

Registrant:
Dockside Realty

2539 Bear Stand Trail
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29588
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: CENTURY21HARRELSON.COM
Created on: 29-Apr-10
Expires on: 29-Apr-12
Last Updated on: 29-Apr-10

Administrative Contact:
Cole, Michael docksiderealtor@yahoo.com
Dockside Realty
2539 Bear Stand Trail
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29588
United States
(843) 907-7607 Fax -- (843) 712-2683

Apr 09, 2012 05:55 AM #8
Rainmaker
571,868
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Jan,  Amazing !  So many issues going on here.  Please keep us posted on this one !

Apr 09, 2012 06:01 AM #9
Rainer
80,593
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
I want to SELL your home, not LIST it!

I'm glad to hear that this was quickly sorted out.  It was a clear example of cyber-squatting.

Apr 09, 2012 06:02 AM #10
Rainmaker
19,598
Brian Habel
HomeSmart Advantage - Saint George, UT

I'll be down town blasted into toad country!  What a toad!  Squatter it right, only cyber lilly pad sakes alilve!  What'll people think of next?  Jeolous belching ribbit!

Apr 09, 2012 06:06 AM #11
Rainmaker
208,576
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Brian, you're a NUT...:-)

I hope Greg will do something besides just making them take it down.  They bought that name in 2010. There is no telling how long or how often they have redirected it and stolen his traffic.  They need to pay.

Apr 09, 2012 06:12 AM #12
Rainmaker
236,092
SEO Expert: Michael George
Phoenix, AZ
Real Estate and Law Firm SEO

This was obviously intentional. But sometimes people take trademarked names by mistake, and squat on them... I thought of a great name for a business once, turned out it was already a business in another state, with a trademarked name.

There were no attorneys even involved. It's not necessary to spend that money.

You contact the registrar and tell them that somebody stole your domain. You then submit documentation that you own the trademark and it essentially pops back into your account.

Very easy, and no need to give lawyers cash!

Jun 07, 2012 03:18 AM #13
Rainmaker
208,576
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

The biggest problem is that very few businesses see the importance of Trademarking their names. Even as big as Greg is he's never done it. Not much you can do if you don't, I'm afraid.

I used to work for this huge condo rental company here called Condolux.  Their website traffic and business is just unbelievable. Apparently in the beginning the owner didn't have a website, but their name was all over the internet on other sites as advertisements and got out. Some guy in China bought condolux dot com and stuck ads all over it.  By the time they wanted to make a site, this was done and now they don't have a leg to stand on.  They developed .net instead, and this Chinese guy is making a fortune on misdirected traffic looking for vacation rentals and clicking his ads.  Sad but true.

Jun 09, 2012 03:12 PM #14
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Rainmaker
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Jan Chilton

Real Estate Marketing
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