Monday, September 23, 2013

The Real Reason Microsoft Registered

With the upcoming release of its latest console, Microsoft is aggressively seeking to register domain names related to the Xbox brand. Going for the unflattering is part of this overall strategy.

For those that are a little confused, Xbone has recently become the go-to nickname for the hotly anticipated Xbox One. To the chagrin of Microsoft, blogs and social media users don’t seem to use the official name for the console.

Microsoft certainly does not appreciate the connotations of the term. Larry Hryb, Xbox Live’s director of programming, is amongst those that would rather see the back of the term.

He recently voiced his displeasure on NeoGAF, a popular gaming forum. His main complaint is that he feels Xbone “disrespects the teams that have put in thousands of hours” into the development of the Xbox One. Saying he “doesn’t care for it” seems to be an understatement.

Whether people are using the nickname as derogatory or simply as an easy abbreviation, Microsoft has had to act to prevent “domain squatters” from profiting. The firm is not expected to do anything with this domain and it’s currently redirecting to

The practice of “squatting” is built around making a quick buck by registering domain names closely related to major brands. These squatters can profit from these domains by selling alternate products, tricking customers into thinking it’s an official presence, or simply by selling the domain name back to the major corporation in question.

Coca Cola Co. is just one of the victims of this practice, having recently been forced to appeal to the United Nations to appropriate Microsoft seems to want to prevent long-winded legal hassles by going for as many domain names as it can find.

Microsoft has to play a bit of a catch-up game, as the company originally avoided registering Xbox One domains in order to avoid potential whispers of the console’s new name. That’s what happened with the new Star Wars Attack Squadrons project, which fans started buzzing about after Disney registered domain names related to the project name.

Microsoft is making up for lost time, however. Just a quick look at the recent whois information changes of domain names such as and reflects this overall strategy. These domains used to be with London-based Krasimir Ivanov and had been in his possession since late 2011.

In May 2013, however, the company filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). This complaint was successful, as the domain names were deemed to be identical to the Microsoft product and not linked to any copyrights held by Mr Ivanov. Furthermore, the domain names were registered in “bad faith”. In other words, the NAF concluded that they were dealing with a domain squatter.

Mr. Ivanov, it seems, is at least one cyber-opportunist who will not be profiting from his foresight. It seems unlikely that this will be the final legal action on behalf of Microsoft.

Microsoft is taking a strategic approach to the Xbone mini-fiasco. Despite the laughs the domain registration may prompt from readers, it’s nevertheless going to be much less problematic than having to fight a parody site in the future.

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