Amazon Trademark Infringement, Ooopsss…

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It’s been a little over 2 months since I posted last, in fact December 6th was the last post. I had been busy making sites and getting them indexed for the rush of Christmas traffic, and just got caught up in the whirl wind of excitement. LOTS of things happenin’g and happened since then, one of which I am not too happy about, Trademark Infringement.

Yep, that’s right, I infringed on someone’s trademark, Amazon.Com. Ooopsss…

Basically it’s been a while since I had read the Amazon OA(Operating Agreement), and didn’t realize that I built a website that would eventually have them contacting me about. Thou Shalt Not use any of Amazon’s trademarked names(Amazon, Kindle,Etc.) in a domain name/URL. Two that I had and were running were www.kindlecoversandcases.com and www.thekindleboard.com.

Kindle covers and cases was a niche site that made a good deal of money over the course of the past year with December being a really great month. Then I sorta sandboxed myself a little with over zealous back linking. But that’s for another post, which I will tell the whole story and how I got out of the Google sandbox. The other site, thekindleboard.com was a forum for discussion of Kindles, eBooks and eBook authors, as well as other eBook readers.

I received an email, founding it in my spam folder, and read it:

We recently contacted you about our concerns with your domain names, and we have not received a response. Please know that we value your participation in Amazon’s Associates program. By requesting that you use alternate domain names, we are attempting to make sure that there is always a clear distinction between the official “Amazon” site and other third party sites. Your current use of the (insert domain name), (insert domain name) and (insert domain name) domains is a violation of the Associates Program Operating Agreement. The registration of these domain names also violates Amazon.com’s trademark, proprietary and other rights. Please review the Associates Program Operating Agreement for more details.

Please choose new domain names and transfer your content to those names. Amazon will purchase your domains (insert domain name), (insert domain name) and (insert domain name) for the initial registration prices, provided that you agree to not register any domains containing Amazon brands, or a misspelling of those brands, in the future.

If we do not hear from you regarding the above within two weeks from the date of this email, we will have no alternative but to close your Associates account and withhold payment of all advertising fees in accordance with the Agreement.

So does this David fight the Goliath Amazon and take a chance on losing all my earnings for the past 3 months? Hell no! Are you kidding? Would you throw away $4000 in affiliate sales? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I actually had 9 domain names in total with the word “Kindle” in it, but only using 4 of them. Rather than give Amazon only the 3 they listed, and still use the other 6 domain names and take a chance on losing my Associate income and my Associate account, I decided to hand over all 9 domains. They promptly paid me $10 each for a total of $90.

Another interesting thing with Amazon is they don’t want you using other peoples trademarked names either. So names like Revlon, such as in a domain name RevlonMascaraReviews.com would be a no-no. I know many people who DO use trademarked names in their URLs, and don’t get caught, but is it really worth losing your income, house or other because of it? Not in my book.

So what am I going to do with the traffic from those sites? or what am I going to do with the brand I had built up? I could just let it go or I could get another domain name and do a permanent redirect to the new site. So what did I do with those sites I built up? I moved them each to a new domain: eBook Covers and Cases and eReader Forum.

I’m happy that Amazon.com was cordial enough to work with me and just take the domains off my hands and not my income I had acquired. Lesson learned.


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Comments

14 Responses to “Amazon Trademark Infringement, Ooopsss…”
  1. DimasNo Gravatar says:

    Did you do a 301 before handing the domains over to Amazon?

    I wonder if the best course of action would be to immediately do a 301 redirect followed by pings to the existing URLs, waiting 2 to 4 weeks before handing over the domains, to try to retain some of the traffic that was already built up.

    • Larry C.No Gravatar says:

      Yes I did do a 301 redirect before handing them over. I would have liked to have some more time for the 301 to take more of an effect, but if I hadn’t of given the domains over to them within 2 weeks I would have lost several thousands in commissions. So I did a 301 redirect and then I started switching all my backlinks to the new sites, and did a bunch of pinging with site pingers as well as bookmarking. I’m already ranking for some terms but not for the ones originally yet, but I am sure I will soon enough.
      Hassle huh? yeah…

  2. AreejNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a quite interesting story! I definitely wouldn’t give $4000 for a domain name. Besides, your sites were all about Amazon, so you need your Associate account. You made the right decision :D .

  3. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    I have a request Larry, can you make a post on how to monetize a forum?
    I find it so much easier to monetize a blog than a forum. I have a vbulletin forum with very high traffic yet it makes almost nothing for me.
    Perhaps thoughts on adsense on forums, monthly membership charged to either members or for advertisers to have a reserved section (like abestweb), private ads, auto-linking to affiliate offers inside posts, random affiliate banners, CPM, etc.
    Do you think that might make for an interesting post?

  4. ziadNo Gravatar says:

    So the issue is that you used kindle in the domain, but also was an Amazon affiliate? I have a website that uses Kindle in it and I recently joined the affiliate program but i wil make sure to not add links to this one website.

    • Larry C.No Gravatar says:

      Yeah I wouldn’t if you want to continue using it. However they are aware of many other sites but they get to stay in operation. for some reason, I don’t know.

  5. TanvirNo Gravatar says:

    Consider yourself lucky. I read on a forum yesterday amazon had closed someones account without any notice just because he had a domain with the word ‘bose’ in it!

    This trademark infringement thing is bugging me like crazy. Is there any crystal clear guidlines about what I can use and what I can’t on domain names? I’m sorry but I’m not very good at reading terms and understanding them :(

    What steps would you take about domains if you had this feeling you could hit #1 if you had the exact match domain but no EMD’s since it would trigger trademark issues?

  6. AndriNo Gravatar says:

    hmm, this is interesting because soooo many sites (some of them is authority) are using brand name for their domain.

    • Larry C.No Gravatar says:

      Yeah, Amazon is similar to google, the evil empire. They did the same thing to me with a domain I had but I did actually infringe. But their strong arm tactic suck. I think that guys got a good thing going as he shoudln’t give it up to them. Amazon is a big bully. So is google.

  7. bettyehiltonNo Gravatar says:

    “Amazon Trademark Infringement, Ooopsss

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