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What is it about Raleigh, N.C. and domain names?
December 8, 2005 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Nissan.com belongs to Nissan Computer Corp., owned by Uzi Nissan in Raleigh, N.C. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has been in a protracted legal battle with Nissan Computer Corp. for control of the domain name and 10 million dollars. Now comes the mind-blowing coincidence: back in the day, Gateway, Inc. (then Gateway 2000, Inc.) was suing Gateway.com, Inc., owned by Alan Clegg, also of Raleigh, for control of gateway.com. They eventually settled out of court.)
posted by bugmuncher (44 comments total)

 
It's my second post (in almost as many years). I know it's old news for some, but I found it interesting, anyway.
posted by bugmuncher at 10:18 PM on December 8, 2005


My mind is not blown. Do you know anyone from Raleigh? They're kinda kooky.
posted by medialyte at 10:29 PM on December 8, 2005


My brain swelled up pretty good, but failed to blow.
posted by Balisong at 10:32 PM on December 8, 2005


I have been hearing about this case off and on for many years now. Nice to know that Mr. Nissan is still going strong.
posted by Qubit at 10:45 PM on December 8, 2005


How exactly is that a "mind-blowing coincidence"? Two disputed domains registered by people................... WHO LIVED IN THE SAME CITY?!??!?? Give me a break.
posted by kjh at 10:48 PM on December 8, 2005


Stranger still: There's a guy in Raleigh named Michael Foxbroadcastingcorporation.com. He's squatting on burgerking.com.

I can't find the link, though.
posted by gramschmidt at 10:52 PM on December 8, 2005


Uh, I hate to break it too you, but I hardly find the coincidence all that mind-blowing. Or even very coincidental.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:55 PM on December 8, 2005


Do you know anyone from Raleigh? They're kinda kooky.

*splutter*

*twitch*

What's wrong with Raleigh?

*drool*

*twitch*
posted by mediareport at 10:56 PM on December 8, 2005


That did not blow my mind. This blows my mind.
posted by brain_drain at 11:02 PM on December 8, 2005


So his last name is Nissan?
And he registered it first?
How in the hell can there be a problem figuring this one out?

Seems fair that he keep it to me. I think the prohibitions on his use of the domain seem like a pile of shit. Nissan's lucky he hasn't made it into a free porn site. It would be even better if he forwarded the url to a competing car maker, but that's probably forbidden by the "no commercial activity" prohibition...
posted by login at 11:31 PM on December 8, 2005


Wow, brain-drain. That is pretty damn mind-blowing.
posted by item at 11:43 PM on December 8, 2005


It's my second post (in almost as many years)

No it's not. (prepare to have mind blowwwn) You've been a member for a year and a week. That, my friend, is not almost two years.
posted by item at 11:45 PM on December 8, 2005


Um, the Research Triangle is the tidewater Sili Valley?
posted by dhartung at 11:51 PM on December 8, 2005


login, as a Georgist I believe this squatting bs is in fact bs. domain names are a form of commons and should be taxed out to the highest bidder (among trademark holders like nissan).

This screwdriver shop could go by nissancomputers.com and wouldn't lose a stick of business, if the fucker even has any.

nissan is the only major car company I know that can't get their domain. This is screwed up.

I do remember when gw2k.com was how to get to gateway. ~Memories~...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:27 AM on December 9, 2005


If my name was Uzi Nissan, I'd definitely have registered Uzi.com instead. Way more stylish, although I don't think I'd have relished a domain name tussle with the manufacturers.
posted by rhymer at 1:14 AM on December 9, 2005


Simple fact is, this guy has been doing business under his own last name, "Nissan", since 1980. Nissan Computers, since 1991. When the web came about in 1994, his business was established, and not simply a ruse to get a domain name.

He's not registering "nissanmotors.com" or "nissanauto.com" or anything implying that he's the car manufacturer. There is a certain level of confusion due to the build-up of the Nissan trademark. However, who's to say the most powerful guy should win in this situation?

Perhaps Nissan Motors should own the domain. However, suing Mr. Nissan for $10,000,000 is disgusting and overkill. Mr. Nissan does hold at least some legitimacy over his domain name, especially due to his business ventures using his own name. This is one of the difficulties of how domain name registration was handled.

Really, I'd just say Nissan Motors should offer him fair market value for the domain. While his claim is legitimate, it's likely in his best interest to sell out regarding the fair market value of such a domain name.

I'd be more inclined to accept squatting, other than this guy is doing legitimate business from this domain, using his own name, which he has done business in since long before the web. He may be gaining from the notoriety of the domain, but it's not like the internet works on magical domain finding anymore like it was assumed to back in the day. Type in "nissan" in the address bar, modern browsers will search and bring back Nissan Motors webpage. If they stumble across Nissan Computers, any reasonable person would understand that this is a different company, selling an unrelated product.

If it's so important to Nissan Motors to own nissan.com, they could offer fair market value for the domain name to the man with a legitimate claim to it. Considering that value, most people would sell. If he refuses, that's just tough. You can't stamp out a company on non-infringing grounds just because they have a plot of land you'd profit immensely from.

The only crime I see here is that Mr. Nissan has no sense of web design whatsoever.
posted by Saydur at 1:22 AM on December 9, 2005


This screwdriver shop could go by nissancomputers.com and wouldn't lose a stick of business, if the fucker even has any.

Do you imagine that Nissan Motors is losing a lot of business? Something tells me they're doing just fine.
posted by kjh at 1:22 AM on December 9, 2005


kjh, sure. people go to nissan.com, get a diatribe from some opportunist wanker, shrug, and go to toyota.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:39 AM on December 9, 2005


The only crime I see here is that Mr. Nissan has no sense of web design whatsoever.

I'm talking right & wrong, not crimes. FWIW I think large swathes of existing private property customs are wrongs / less efficient / socially harmful.

eg. private property in privileges like taxi medallions is easily shown to be horribly inefficient and distorting; all rent-seeking behavior tends to be counter-productive in the long run.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:42 AM on December 9, 2005


Yeah, but he has the waving flags on his site, so you know he's swell.
posted by damnitkage at 3:20 AM on December 9, 2005


Nissan motors suck. Uzi Nissan rocks.
posted by 13twelve at 3:38 AM on December 9, 2005


Is there a non-video newslink for the lawsuit?
posted by Eideteker at 3:43 AM on December 9, 2005


Uh, I hate to break it too you, but I hardly find the coincidence all that mind-blowing. Or even very coincidental.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:55 AM GMT on December 9 [!]


You mean....that is NOT hot??!!1?
posted by Joeforking at 4:09 AM on December 9, 2005


Forget using your own name for anything, as long as it sounds like something more popular. ... Nevermind that the signage doesn't look at all similar.
posted by parilous at 4:44 AM on December 9, 2005


Opportunist, HM? Did you even read the background to this? He has a legit reason to use the name and he got there first.
posted by bouncebounce at 4:47 AM on December 9, 2005


Awww, this made me revisit mikerowesoft.com and sadly on redirect I found this: MRStudios. I must've blinked and missed that story.
posted by magpie68 at 5:01 AM on December 9, 2005


Somewhere out there Omar T. Metafilter is dialing his attorney....
posted by HuronBob at 5:05 AM on December 9, 2005


"Mom, Love, and Screendoor are all wholly owned trademarks of Mom's Friendly Robot Company."
posted by Eideteker at 5:25 AM on December 9, 2005


domain names are a form of commons and should be taxed out to the highest bidder (among trademark holders like nissan).

Dear god, I hope that everything in the commons doesn't get auctioned off to the highest bidder. Have you seen what the "higest bidders" do to the commons?
And, also: what the fuck? Those with the most moeny deserve access to all the resources, while independent bsuniesses can go screw themselves?
And also: nissan is the only major car company I know that can't get their domain. This is screwed up.

No: It is screwed up that the President lied to the American people to get us into a war that is now ensuring the people we were meant to be helping hate our guts.
It is screwed up that we live in a nation that uses up more of the world's resources than most the others combined and yet we can't feed and house our poor.
It is screwed up that Michael Jackson is allowed to raise children.
It is screwed up that under NAFTA, a pharmeceuticals comapny can successfully sue a state that banned the use of a drug it was manufacturing whose major side effect was death.

Get a sense of perspective already.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:46 AM on December 9, 2005


dhartung mentioned it, but in case anyone is unclear, the Research Triangle Park area which includes Raleigh is one of the most high-tech areas of the country. NC State is right there, which spaws a lot of engineers and computer types, including the founders of Red Hat who still have their corporate offices in Raleigh.
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:24 AM on December 9, 2005


For the longest time, barrett.com had a shared home page which gave web visitors the option of either going to Barrett Communications or Barrett Technology, Inc. (a robotics company). This was a unique solution that gave both companies what they wanted, the use of the domain name. Barrett Communications has since decided to move to a different domain, but Barrett Technology still has a notice and link on their home page telling web visitors that Barrett Communications has moved.

It seems like a pretty fair and civil compromise that I wish more companies would consider.

Note: Barrett is my surname, and I own barrett.org.
posted by camworld at 7:28 AM on December 9, 2005


This screwdriver shop could go by nissancomputers.com and wouldn't lose a stick of business, if the fucker even has any.

um, "the fucker" is very well liked around the research triangle. he's been very supportive of various local computer and programming user groups for over a couple of decades. so shut your fucking face, uncle fucker.

nissan motors could go by nissanmotors.com and wouldn't lose a stick of business. which is unfortunate since they have the worst quality record in the car industry.
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:04 AM on December 9, 2005


My mind is blown. GMC 6-71. I've been thinking of bolting it onto a Datsun.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2005


kjh, sure. people go to nissan.com, get a diatribe from some opportunist wanker, shrug, and go to toyota.

You're kidding me. Here's what actually happens. People go to google, type in Nissan, and the top four results are for Nissan Motors, not counting the sponsored link at the very top and the slew of ads on the side.
posted by kjh at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2005


I hope that everything in the commons doesn't get auctioned off to the highest bidder. Have you seen what the "higest bidders" do to the commons?

not "auctioned off" but just leased with whatever terms that get the most return to the public.

And not everything must be auctioned off, just that which can't be managed effectively as commons.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:56 AM on December 9, 2005


You're kidding me

No, I'm not. When I was shopping for a car in 2000 I ran into Mr Nissan. Sure I know how to use the internets but this is just hassle to millions of people.

It's not just a matter of money, it's a matter of public convenience. Nissan is a global enterprise, .com is a defacto global namespace. Mr Nissan is fully in his rights to claim the nissan.nc.us virtual address. Nissan Motors should have right of refusal to nissan.com. Anything else encourages counterproductive rentseeking by fuckers like Mr Nissan.

I think all rent-seekers are the scum of the earth, and domain squatters are just a subset of them.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:00 AM on December 9, 2005


Nissan Motor Corproation, according to the car maker's website, was established in 1960. Mr. Nissan started his own motor repair company in 1980. I don't know how intra-state trademarking works, but if Mr. Nissan was allowed to form a CAR REPAIR company with the name Nissan when NMC was already registered and that no legal action was taken against him then, doesn't he have a stronger claim now? (I assuming some kind of statue of limitation has past for NMC to sue Mr. Nissan)

Finally, anyone who has access to the internet for longer than a month would know not to enter any random URL willy-nilly thinking they would get the site they wanted.
posted by phyrewerx at 10:03 AM on December 9, 2005


I think you are off base HM. Squatting implies that the domain is gathered and held to make profit, or to spite someone. This is not the case here. It is being used to futher a legitimate business operation.

You are making the claim that bigger automatically = more privledge. I don't really shed any tears over the millions of people that are so inconvienced becasue they spend all of 30 seconds not on task. grow the fuck up. Why don't you rail againsts pop-up ads.. they certainly are more inconvient to more people then this small thing.

Public conveniance hell... it is ALL about money. Oh, Nissan is waging such a public minded campaign we should just give them a damn medel eh? good god. You are saying that anytime someone has a globial presence they own all rights to that name despite whatever has gone before. Why do they get preferance?
Nissian failed miserably when it did not seek to register the domain early, now they should suck it up and wait till it becomes available.

The commons? see "tradigy of the the commons".

(srry this comp doesn't display the spell check option)
posted by edgeways at 10:37 AM on December 9, 2005


You are making the claim that bigger automatically = more privledge

No, just what works best, and that all windfall rents should be taxed. What did Mr Nissan do to collect this $20M payday?

Somewhere down the line somebody's going to have to do $20M in productive enterprise to pay this free rent that Mr Nissan is going to collect.

And it's "Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons", btw
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2005


Somewhere down the line somebody's going to have to do $20M in productive enterprise to pay this free rent that Mr Nissan is going to collect.

If it's worth x million dollars to Nissan, that's because they think it will sell them enough cars to recoup that cost. Make no mistake, every cost incurred by a successful business is borne by the customer. There is no "free rent".

This has less to do with the valuation of the domain than the fact that Mr. Nissan owns it and should continue to own it. He's not squatting, He didn't register it speculatively, he owns the rights to it. If it's worth 10 bucks or ten million, should make no diffference so far as ownership is concerned.

As an aside, it is not that expensive to retrieve a domain through ICANN if you are the legitimate owner of the name. If Nissan had valid claim, why wouldn't they spend the comparatively small amount required to grieve this through ICANN?

Or have they already been down that road and lost?

>>And it's "Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons", btw

Relax Heywood, there's an "invisible hand" managing it for us ;-]
posted by login at 9:29 PM on December 9, 2005


Or have they already been down that road and lost?

Dunno. I take issue with the idea of "owning" any commons. This applies to the EM spectrum just as much as domain names.

The theory is that the entity that can use the commons most productively will pay the highest rent for it.

This is basic classical economics that for some reason has been shovelled down the memory hole by the Austrian School.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:33 PM on December 9, 2005


IOW, Mr Nissan didn't create that $20M value of nissan.com, Nissan Motors did. Mr Nissan is a leech, and if it pockets it Adam Smith and Ricardo will spin that much faster.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:35 PM on December 9, 2005


... OK, so I guess I have only been a member for a year or thereabouts. oops.

The "mind-blowing coincidence" as I phrased it last night was that both Uzi Nissan and Alan Clegg had legitimate claims to their domains, and that they were not classic cybersquatters.

Uzi's claim is that he is Mr. Nissan, and was using the name for his business when Nissan was known in the USA as Datsun.

Alan's claim was that since he was in networking, and gateway is networking term, he had every right to select it as his company name. (The non-trademarked definition of gateway appeared on the Gateway 2000 website until Clegg pointed it out when they sued).

Both of these people registered their domain names long ago, (I think both in 1990) when the Internet was the realm of a few nerds, and corporations such as Gateway and Nissan weren't thinking about the Internet.

So... to those whose minds were not blown, can you think of any other city that can boast 2 people who were involved in cybersquatting legal battles with major corporations, in which the cases *weren't* classic clever cybersquatters, but people with tenable claims to a trade name?
posted by bugmuncher at 10:54 PM on December 9, 2005


um, "the fucker" is very well liked around the research triangle. he's been very supportive of various local computer and programming user groups for over a couple of decades.

Indeed he is. Incidentally, his brother, Amnon Nissan, is also a big name in Triangle computers, going back to his longtime presidency of Triangle Computer Society and running some popular BBSes since the early '80s.
posted by Vidiot at 9:35 PM on December 11, 2005


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