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my domain name differs from another by dash772

Member labellecleo private msg quote post Address this user
Hey guys, wanted to pick your thoughts on this:
Yesterday I realized that the domain name that I picked (with a dash) exists (yes rookie mistake for not checking thoroughly) and is in the same arena as me except that they are a magazine, while my website talks about personal experiences. So obviously there will be some theme overlaps..

My questions :

Shall I change my domain name?
Or make it clear with the meta that my website is personal?
I am right now feeling like a copycat even though the content is written differently and is personal.

Am I wasting my time competing with an established website? Even though we approach things differently?

Thanks you so much.
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@labellecleo

I wouldn't worry about it unless you fear they might come after you for copying them.

My daughter has a site - www.miamei.com . Some nymph in China created a site AFTER my daughter with a very similar domain name. I don't want to put it here because I don't want this exhibitionist getting any traffic or mojo from this forum. The only difference is a well-placed dash.

I suspect we get accidental traffic from one another.

The simple fear for you is that a highly established company with deep pockets will come after you. If that is not the case, don't worry about it.
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Member labellecleo private msg quote post Address this user
Thanks. I needed to hear that. I did have some concerns about them wanting to come after me. But they blog about their magazine articles and I draw from personal experiences.
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Teacher Rev private msg quote post Address this user
There are both the marketing/branding issues and the legal ones. From the legal perspective (I am not a lawyer and this is my opinion based on my personal experience and should not be considered legal advice in any form) you will want to consider copyright/trademark and other related issues.

You cannot copyright a title or an idea so you are likely clear in the "similarity" arena, however trademark is another issue. The domain registry authority requires no proof of ownership of a trade name in order to acquire rights to use a domain name (you don't actually own it!) but neither to they grant any authority to that domain name.

You need to do your own due diligence before registering to ensure your rights. Someone with rights that trump yours can easily force surrender of a conflicting domain name. There are many instances where the courts have ruled in this manner so precedent is well established in most major jurisdictions around the world.

Many think that a copyright or trademark must be registered to be valid however, in the U.S. the former exists simply through the creation of an original work and the latter through its claim and use. Registration of either must exist before an actual legal action is initiated, and while it is helpful to show proof of when the existence of copyright or trademark was initiated, it is not required for that purpose.

If the magazine was there first they likely have claim to the name and you may run afoul of trademark violation because of the similarity and/or overlap of theme/content. If you were in an entirely different field this would not likely be an issue.

While McDonalds Corporation has a pretty strong claim on the McDonalds name, they don't own it exclusively. McDonalds Electric, for example, is in a non-related field (not restaurant/food) and uses the name legitimately. You wouldn't want to open a mcdonalds-icecream.com blog and write about all things icecream without likely receiving contact from the corporate legal team -- the food guys, not the electric bunch.

You want to consider this sort of thing, do your own research and then, if you decide to stick with the domain, you really should talk to a copyright/trademark lawyer. Your local real estate/ambulance chaser is not a good stop for this one.

Then there is the marketing side of things... as usual, "it depends" -- on who your market is and how you intend to reach, and then interact with, them. If you expect them to find you and come to you by clicking links in search engines and elsewhere, then it doesn't much matter. The link will be your link and they will find you.

If you expect them to remember, and type in, the domain name then chances are a significant number will get it wrong and end up at the magazine site. Those people may even think it is your site and do business there, or otherwise form an opinion of YOU by what they find. This is probably not a good thing.

Frankly, I'd look for another domain before you get any farther into this can of worms. It's only twelve bucks or so. Make the change now and build from scratch. You won't regret it later whereas the other route may lead to lots of problems and significant regrets.
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@labellecleo @Rev

As usual, @Rev's comments are well thought out, go above and beyond in sharing here and speak from experience.

As for me, I am more worried about people stealing from me at some point than having them think I stole from them.

If you are worried ... error on the side of caution. The most you will lose is the fee for buying another domain name. Then you can offer to sell the domain name you bought to the other guys. 8-)
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Member rcayeras private msg quote post Address this user
Regarding legal trademarks and business names:

http://www.dharmaland.com/history/people.html

According to a previous co-worker, a restaurant in Jamaica did win the court battle and kept their business name - because McDonald was the name they were born with.
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Member labellecleo private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew @Rev

Thanks. These are all valid points and I am leaning towards the name change. That seems to be the most logical step to take.
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Top Contributor Steve private msg quote post Address this user
my main domain name is website-designs.com ... way back when, a company in the US (I was in the UK then) tried to copyright the term website designs which would have been a big scoop for them.

This when to whatever court / tribunal decides such things ... and my domain name was cited as reason that this term should not be copyrighted / trademarked as others were using it.

Just a little history ...
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Member tienny private msg quote post Address this user
Good discussion and learn something from this.
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