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When your competitor owns your domain

Media Robin - Informative Articles

This is a very complex area for discussion, the reality is that every situation is unique. This article deals with the options open to you without exercising legal remedies, which of course are available. Trademark issues, for example, are not addressed here, as you will need legal advice, if you have a trademark that is being infringed for example, this will require a legal remedy. Also if you wish to start arbitration proceedings to get your domain, these are topics on which lawyers can guide you.

However, purely from a practical position, the following questions may assist:

  • What is the cost of a rebrand? This needs to be considered if you have recently set up.
  • Does the competitor’s location negate the impact on your business? (Businesses that are local affect other businesses in other localities to a much lesser extent),
  • Can you access an alternative domain that could improve your position?
  • Can search engine optimisation (SEO) improve your position?
  • Is the domain available for sale, or is there a price that the owner may accept based on the value of the business?
  • Is the competitor’s website itself available for sale?
  • If there is no overlap in services, then you may be able to work with your competitor, whose market maybe more niche, making referrals to each other.
  • Contact the owner and explain the issues and options. They may have a friendly way to move forward, the online world is big enough for all of us.
  • This is a not an exhaustive guide. The reality is that you will need a good lawyer, a broker and mediation of sorts.