Mininova.org has won the transfer of the mininova.com domain in a dispute, and successfully put a scammer out of business. The .com scammer has been a thorn in the side of mininova for a long time. Thousands of people who signed up at mininova.com were charged money without ever receiving something in return.
Earlier this year mininova.org already claimed the .net domain, which was handed over to them by it’s former owner without any problems. The .com domain was a different story.
The site hosted at the .com domain was a classic example of a phishing scam. Users were charged a fee from their credit card which they were told gave the access to over a million torrents. However, after they paid the fee and attempted to login, the site just redirected to mininova.org. Not surprisingly, the mininova.org team received hundreds of emails from people who fell for this trick and wanted their money back.
Mininova.org was fed up with its fishy counterpart and decided to file a domain dispute. They had a strong case. First of all Mininova.org registered the MININOVA trademark with the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property Trademark. Secondly, the owner of the .com domain registered the domain “in bad faith”. The fact that Mininova.com was merely setup as a phishing scam was an important factor in granting the domain dispute. Here’s a snippet from the decision of the National Arbitration Forum.
Complainant (mininova.org) provided multiple e-mails from Internet users describing their confusion, and describing the failure of Respondent to offer services in exchange for their registration payments. In this way, Respondent (mininova.com) is taking advantage of the confusion of Internet users to attract them to Respondent's website to collect fraudulent registration fees.
However, it is all over now. The National Arbitration Forum concluded that mininova.org established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy
1. mininova.com is identical or confusingly similar to the mininova trademark
2. mininova.com doesn’t have any legitimate interests in respect of the domain name
3. mininova.com was registered and utilized in bad faith.
The .com domain is now transferred to the owner of mininova.org who now owns the .com, .net, .org and the .nl domain. The former owner of the .com domain has 10 days to appeal, after that the transfer will be official. For now just use mininova.org.
Congrats Mininova, one scammer down.