Friday, December 7, 2007


It's been a wacky week in freelance land. The wackiest day of the week came when eBay sent me an email threatening to sue me for cybersquatting. I wrote a fairly short ebook about selling on eBay, which I sell regularly on eBay itself as well as having a ClickBank listing. I thought it might be nice to have my own site to sell it on as well in order to avoid the steep fees that I pay to both of those sites on each sale. Well, apparently they are going after everyone with a domain name that has the word eBay anywhere in it, and using the cover of cycbersquatting law to scare people into taking their sites down. The cybersquatting law was started to prevent people from buying domain names that are the names of existing companies and then offering to sell the domain to the company at an increased rate. Obviously I didn't do that.

They also said that someone might confuse my piddling little site with one that was owned by eBay, which was also untrue. I have no discernible web design skills and the site was extremely plain, consisting only of a page about the ebook and a link to buy it. I can't imagine anyone believing that it was in any way a part of eBay. The example they used in the email was their successful blockage of the domain "ebaysecurities." I don't have any proof, but I believe that was an attempted phishing site being used to trick people into giving up their personal information. I didn't do anything of the kind. I would have likely won in court if they had decided to take it that far, and I am incorporated, so I can't see them getting much more than my laptop, some office paper and possibly my giant box of Bic pens even if they won. But, in the end, I decided not to mess with it. In an uncharacteristic backing down, I erased everything from the site. I just don't need the aggravation and I don't really have the time to do much promotion for the site anyway. I may have an obnoxious streak, but I don't mean any harm to anyone and don't want any trouble.

If you have a site with any company name in it, you might think about checking with the current cybersquatting legislation just to make sure you're on the right side of the law. There are other companies shutting down domains, but so far none of them have been tiny sites selling an ebook.


Dana Prince said...

That's wild that ebay would threaten you like that. I wrote an article for a client last week where I talked about how to make money from domain parking and that's something I chose to investigate as part of my reesarch because I know microsoft and other companies like that go after people for cybersquatting but the ICANN org looks for bad faith when they investigate and your site selling an ebook and not copying anything in terms of ebay graphics would clearly not be a bad faith attempt at cybersquatting in my humble opinion!

L. Shepherd said...

That's what I think too, and I seriously doubt they could have won anything in court. My H says I should put it back up again, and I might at some point. I just haven't decided about it yet.