Microsoft Sues Maltuzi, Others

Microsoft Corp. has filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco accusing “domain taster” Maltuzi LLC of violating the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, trademark infringement and unfair competition. It’s part of a renewed effort by the Redmond, Wash., software giant to combat alleged cyber-squatting. The company detailed a list of suits and settlements in a news release this morning.

Maltuzi, based in Mountain View, Calif., is one of the most prolific domain tasters. To taste a name is to register it for a maximum of five days and evaluate how much traffic it gets and how much revenue it generates from paid-search ads. If the name generates more revenue than the annual cost to register it, the taster keeps it. Tasting exploits a rule that allows domain-name registrars to return to VeriSign within a five-day grace period any .com or .net name that was registered for a customer by mistake, and to recoup the $6 wholesale price.

Maltuzi has at times tasted hundreds of thousands of names a week, according to people familiar with the matter. Microsoft claims Maltuzi has profited by registering more than 450 names that are typographical variations of its trademarks — including the addresses winowsmediaplayer.com, winowslivemessenger.com and microoutlook.com — and displaying paid-search ads on the sites. Microsoft is seeking an injunction blocking Maltuzi’s use of the names. It also seeks monetary damages, and to have the domains in question transferred to it.

One cannot taste without a registrar’s consent. Maltuzi has used the registrar NameKing.com, owned by Oversee.net, a Los Angeles-based company. Oversee is one of the biggest players in the domain market, owning more than 500,000 names itself.

Maltuzi’s name registrations have raised concerns from bloggers and a credit-union trade group, among others. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Microsoft suit sent via email.

In a recent BusinessWeek article discussing the controversy surrounding tasting, a person called “T. Salonen” was named as the manager of Maltuzi. Salonen told BusinessWeek that there’s nothing wrong with the company’s tasting efforts. In an email, he told the magazine: “We … purchase those domain names which have certain traffic levels or pay-per-click viability and return those which do not meet those and other criteria.”

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5 Responses to “Microsoft Sues Maltuzi, Others”


  1. 1 Larry Seltzer March 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Interesting! NameKing was also the registrar for infamous domain taster Chesterton Holdings, which I wrote about in this column.

  2. 2 JimF March 14, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Larry,

    All those registrants are shell companies for domainsponsor/oversee.net – basically any company using the nameking registrar is them.


  1. 1 NameKing.com Suspends Domain Tasting « David Kesmodel Trackback on March 15, 2007 at 7:23 pm
  2. 2 2007 The Year In Domain Name News » Domain Name News Trackback on January 3, 2008 at 3:38 am
  3. 3 2007 The Year of Domain Legal Battles Trackback on January 5, 2008 at 7:25 am

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