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June 30, 2017

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

After Failed Attempt to Hijack a Generic Domain Denmark's Queen Flowers Has to Deal With the Wrath of Rick Schwartz 

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If you run a legitimate business being labeled a reverse domain name hijacker - or a hijacker of any kind considering the dictionary definition for one is "a person who steals goods" - does not reflect well on the way you do business or your enterprise. Unfortunately, there is no criminal or financial penalty for reverse domain name hijacking (trying to steal a domain from it's rightful owner) even though the attempted theft involves assets that can be worth a million or more dollars!

Such was the case when a flower seller in Denmark that operates from Queen.dk attempted to steal the Queen .com domain name from veteran domain investor/develolper Rick Schwartz, who has owned the name for two decades, through an ill advised UDRP filing. They resorted to that misuse of the dispute resolution process after Schwartz refused to sell them the exceptionally valuable domain for the price they wanted to pay.

Anyone who knows Schwartz knows he does not take this kind of thing lying down and will go out of his way to make life miserable (for a very long time) for anyone who tries to steal from him. When Queen Flowers filed their UDRP claim Schwartz promptly hired one of the industry's top lawyers, Zak Muscovitch, to file a response -  a masterful one that resulted in Queen.dk and their attorney, Marie Lykke Christiansen of Patrade A/S Denmark, not only losing the flimsy case but also - due to it being such an obvious attempt to steal a valuable name 

 - being found guilty of a reverse domain name hijacking attempt. 

The 3-member WIPO panel's decision stated, '"In the Panel's view, this is a classic "Plan B" case where a party, having been frustrated in its negotiations to buy a domain name, resorts to the ultimate option of a highly contrived and artificial claim not supported by any evidence or the plain wording of the UDRP. This stratagem has been described in many UDRP cases as "a highly improper purpose" and it has often contributed to findings of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking."

Now the company, its CEO, Frands Jepsen of Knud Jepsen, and their attorney are dealing with the aftermath that Schwartz laid out in a detailed post on his personal blog Wednesday (June 28). Schwartz wrote, "Since there is no prison time nor is there even a monetary penalty for their attempted theft, it is up to domain and business owners like myself to tell everyone. Cattle Rustlers used to be HUNG!

Rick Schwartz

The only tool we have is public shaming and humiliation. Their names will be forever associated with their Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Even though it was not successful, it cost me $5,000 to defend my own property and time and all the other crap! Well, I am here for my pound of flesh Frands Jepson and Company. You had your turn, now it is my turn!"

Schwartz goes on to make the most of his highly visible soap box and the thousands of readers it attracts by laying out a permanent record of what Queen Flowers tried to do, a record that - due to his blog's authority and high ranking in Google - will result in searches for Queen Flowers, as well as those on the names of the company CEO and legal representatives, bringing this event up over and over again (references that will continue to grow in visibility as more people link to Schwartz's blog post and other online postings). Schwartz has also shared the story extensively on his Twitter account where his posts get similar love from Google.  In fact in a Google search I just made for Queen Flowers CEO "Frands Jepsen" Schwartz's Twitter post on the UDRP decision is already on page 1

So in the end, by taking the low road, Queen Flowers ends up with nothing but a damaged reputation, wasted attorney fees and any hope that Schwartz will ever sell them the domain at any price now. It is a lesson that others who would misuse the UDRP process as a vehicle for attempted theft should take to heart.

(Posted June 29, 2017) 

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