It’s common practice, and perhaps necessary for large companies to protect their Trademark. I’ve written before about Google going after an incorrect spelling of their own Trademark, on http://googleappsengine.com, because it resembles one of their products. Twitter is known to also go after domains with not only “Twitter” in the name, but “Tweet” and even “Twit” (even though that specific trademark is owned by Leo Laporte). It has long been known that Facebook Apps are not to have the name “Facebook” in their names, but it would appear that Facebook is starting to go after domain names too. Just recently, they have asked such major sites as Mari Smith’s WhyFacebook.com, to change their name in defense of their own Trademark.
In a post on Mari’s Facebook Page, Mari stated, “I took down my WhyFacebook.com blog this week. Long story. But basically Facebook are on a mission to reclaim all domains containing “facebook” – soooo, a wee word of warning in case you own any!!” Mari, perhaps one of the most followed Facebook experts on the site, who also was named by FastCompany Magazine as the “Pied Piper of Facebook”, also ran one of the most intuitive and most followed blogs on how to manage a Facebook Page, build a fan base, and grow an audience using the site. She had an incredible following of Brand managers and very large companies wanting to improve their brand presence. She is now moving her content over to her own domain, MariSmith.com for future reference.
The request by Facebook begs the question whether other popular sites, such as AllFacebook.com and InsideFacebook.com (both of which I have contributed articles for in the past), have also received such Cease-and-Desist orders. Mari states she was told these sites have received “special permission” from Facebook, which makes me wonder how this permission is obtained. Even the domain for mine and my co-author Jason Alba’s website (which now redirects to our Fan Page) for our book is at risk: FacebookAdvice.com. Or what about even the name of our book, “I’m on Facebook–Now What???” – is that at risk as well?
I think it’s safe to say that if anyone owns a domain with the name, “Facebook” in the title they are at risk to be taken down by Facebook. This is something to be aware of when creating any sort of website – even your domain is not safe from Trademark infringement in the future. Are you aware of any other sites receiving these cease-and-desist orders?