Very interesting article in the Times-Standard today about one of the owners of Sacred Grounds Coffee in Arcata who apparently registered the domain for Bayside Roasters, another local coffee roasting company, when it expired.
The article is interesting on many points. First, on a simple human level, what makes someone (in this case Tim Dominick of Sacred Grounds) act in this way? According to the article he pointed the domain to scurrilous content (redirecting the domain to the Urban Dictionary definition of the word asshole). Was he motivated by greed? Did he think this tactic would help make more money for his own company? Or was there something personal going on between Mr. Dominick and the owners of Bayside Roasters Pamela and Kregen Olsen?
Second, the suit claimed, and the jury agreed, that after Dominick removed the redirection to the Urban Dictionary he was responsible for a Google bombing campaign that made search requests for ‘bayside roasters’ on Google return a link to a pornographic web site. Mr. Dominick’s lawyer admits his client registered the name and redirected to the Urban Dictionary site but denies he had anything to do with Google bombing. I would love to have heard the evidence against Mr. Dominick on this one. Google bombing isn’t all that easy to pull off without a lot of help. If he was really responsible for this, he must have been spending a lot of time an energy at it instead of tending to his own business.
Finally, this once again points out how important domain names have become to businesses, and how foolish some business owners are in not understanding this. As I cautioned in this post: Know where your domain name is registered, know who really is the registered owner, know when your domain needs to be renewed, and be sure to renew your registration in plenty of time.
It would indeed be interesting to know what the testimony was but if the link is at all unusual it does not take all that much skill or effort to Googlebomb someone. And until Google tightened up on this they were becoming quite a problem. This happened quite a while ago when it was relatively easy to do.
And wow do I fully agree with the last point. Domain names are like trademarks, and can ve very valuable. They can also be poached. If you have one that really matters to you register all he TDL (Top Level Domain Name) versions like .org, .net, .biz, etc.