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.site Domain Names Eclipse .xyz in Dispute Proceedings

Despite the launch of more than 1,200 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) in recent years, .com remains—far and away—the top-level domain that appears most frequently in decisions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). But, some new gTLDs are attracting more disputes, including .site, which has become the new gTLD that, so far this year, has appeared in the most UDRP decisions.

The rise of .site represents a change from last year, when .xyz was the most-often disputed new gTLD. Indeed, in 2016, .site was only the ninth most-disputed new gTLD, trailing not only .xyz but also (in descending order) .top, .club, .online, .vip, .store, .website and .cloud.

None of these new gTLDs is giving .com a run for its money in the domain name dispute arena. So far this year, 71.83% of all domain names in UDRP disputes include .com. In a distant second place is .net, with 5.45%. Domain names that include the .site gTLD account for 2.18% of UDRP disputes.

(As always when I report on domain name dispute statistics, this data is based solely on UDRP cases filed at WIPO, which is the only UDRP service provider that publishes real-time statistics. But, since WIPO is the most popular of the UDRP service providers, its data may be informative.)

Despite the relatively small numbers, the increase in the number of .site disputes is significant. In 2016, only 18 domain names that included .site were the subject of UDRP cases at WIPO; yet, in less than nine months this year, the number has risen to 74.

A search of UDRP decisions at the Forum (the second-most popular UDRP service provider) identifies an additional 10 .site disputes. Plus, the Forum has had eight .site domain names in determinations under the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS). (WIPO does not accept URS cases.)

So, why is .site suddenly a popular new gTLD to dispute? I have a few thoughts:

  • .site domain name registrations overall are relatively popular. With more than 538,000 domain name registrations, .site is now among the top 10 new gTLDs, according to nTLDStats.
  • .site domain name registrations are being offered for only 99 cents for the first year—which may mean that domainers are attracted to them without much regard for potential trademark issues that arise in UDRP and URS proceedings.
  • As a short and simple new gTLD, .site has probably attracted the attention of trademark owners, who consider cybersquatting to be more problematic than in other new gTLDs, such as (to name just two) .engineering or .scholarships—which so far have not appeared in any UDRP cases at WIPO or the Forum.
  • In many cases, .site domain names are being registered by cybersquatters along with other new gTLDs. For example, Philip Morris filed a UDRP complaint for 18 domain names, only one of which included the .site gTLD (<marlboro-cigs.site>); and Tinder filed a complaint for 15 domain names, but only one (<tindersafe.site>) was not a .com.

Whether .site domain names will continue to attract more disputes than any other new gTLD is far from certain. I wouldn’t be surprised if a different new gTLD takes the lead later this year or next year, but I suspect there will always be a correlation between the popularity of a top-level domain and the number of disputes that it attracts.

By Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm

Learn more by visiting The GigaLaw Firm website. Doug Isenberg also maintains a blog here.

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