catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

uTube versus YouTube

with 8 comments

Some companies really need to exercise a bit of creative thinking before calling in the lawyers.

The SMH is reporting that manufacturing firm Univeral Tube (utube.com) has decided to sue YouTube (youtube.com). Universal Tube’s complaint is that they have had to upgrade their hosting arrangements five times to handle the load from people mistakenly visiting their site instead of YouTube.

Universal Tube has gone to court seeking to have YouTube stop using the youtube.com domain (hardly likely) or else have YouTube pay the cost of relocating Universal Tube’s hosting and setting them up with a new domain. Universal Tube claim they are suffering lost sales as genuine customers are unable to reach the utube.com site due to it being unresponsive in the face of all the lost YouTube visitors.

But in my view – Universal Tube is looking in the wrong place for a source of money to fund its site upgrade.

“The company, [Universal Tube] with just 17 employees, got 68 million hits on its site in August, making it one of the most popular manufacturing websites.” (SMH)

Whoa there! Sixty eight million hits! Now surely there is a huge opportunity to monetize that through advertising, or perhaps some sort of referral fee from YouTube? Since Universal Tube have had the domain for ten years, I would think they are unlikely to run afoul of any cybersquating issues so why not capitalise on the traffic while it lasts.

Interestingly, Universal Tube is looking to sell the utube.com domain, possibly so that someone else can do just that. Which makes me wonder whether the whole court case isn’t simply a way of drumming up extra publicity and pushing up the sale price of the utube.com domain.

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Written by Admin

November 2, 2006 at 7:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. Even if they just signed up with google Adsense, they’d make a killing.

    skepticlawyer

    November 2, 2006 at 7:28 pm

  2. But wouldn’t a well-publicised court case drive down the price by advertising that utube is not youtube, thereby diminishing accidental arrivals?

    C.L.

    November 2, 2006 at 7:48 pm

  3. C.L.

    I reckon it depends on how well publicised the case is. if it’s only reported in fiancial and technology sections of the media, then it probably won’t have much impact on the misplaced vistors… I am assuming here that people who read tech news probably know who YouTube is.

    On the other hand – if the case was all over the mainstream media then yes … it might reduce the accidental visits.

    HeathG

    November 2, 2006 at 8:01 pm

  4. That makes sense.

    C.L.

    November 2, 2006 at 8:03 pm

  5. Who are these people? How did they manage to even set up a company in the first place with that sort of pathological lack of opportunism?

    Jason Soon

    November 2, 2006 at 8:05 pm

  6. Why the surprise? The only suitable business model for the Internet is to sue somebody.

    Shaun

    November 2, 2006 at 9:24 pm

  7. Heath is right, but it goes further — the type of people who would be interested in buying the domain name are more likely to read the types of news sources that will report on it.

    There will be practically no drop in mistypes (they’ll mostly occur when people are told about the website, not when they read about it), while the demand for utube.com will increase.

    (Similar thing happened to the guy who owned firefox.com, by the way, but he seems to have cut a deal with the Mozilla team.)

    robcorr

    November 2, 2006 at 9:27 pm

  8. A similar (but smaller) case was a couple of years back, when the company that has been producing spam meat for decades sued producers of SPAM arrest software. I do not know how it ended.

    Boris

    November 3, 2006 at 2:55 am


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