As a consultant, as far back as 2007, when businesses used to come to me in need of redevelopment, I would tell them that the best thing they could do was to “get WordPressed”.

I explained how they needed to take their dinosaur HTML site and have it converted into the most search friendly system I knew of, and that’s how this particular website was born.

It’s a specialized niche site, to fit the growing industry of converting sites into WordPress, and that’s how the domain name came to be chosen.

Yesterday however, attorneys for the WordPress Foundation sent me an email, saying that we are in violation of the WordPress copyright by using WordPress in the domain name. ;(

On the one hand, I realize that a company does have the right to protect themselves from misuse of their trademarked name or logo, but on the other hand, I’m surprised that they have nothing better to do with their time than go after supporters like us, who provide services based on their product.

Here’s a copy of the letter in its entirety:

Re: Trademark Infringement By

Dear Mr. Hendison:

I write on behalf of the WordPress Foundation to ask that you stop all use of the domain and transfer it to WordPress and that you also remove the WordPress Logo from your site. As you know, our client is one of the world’s most famous providers of blogging and website support services and offers these services under its famous WORDPRESS trademarks. It has used its WORDPRESS trademarks for many years and this trademark is the subject of many trademark registrations throughout the world including the United States.

As I am sure you can understand, in business a company’s brand is its reputation with customers. For this reason it is critical that a company have the ability to control how its brand is presented to the public. Further, the company has set out its domain name policy on the WordPress.org website as follows: “For various reasons related to our WordPress trademark, we ask if you’re going to start a site about WordPress or related to it that you not use “WordPress” in the domain name.” http://wordpress.org/about/domains/

Your use of the domain name(the “Subject Domain”) and your use of the WordPress Logo is without the permission of WordPress and removes its brand reputation from its control since visitors to your website will wrongly believe that the site is controlled by, or at least approved by WordPress when this is not the case.

In order for the company to maintain control of its reputation, we ask that you transfer thedomain to WordPress and remove all uses of the logo from your website. Should you care to discuss this matter please don’t hesitate to call or email me. I await your reply.

Very truly yours,

Steven M. Levy, Esq.
FairWinds Partners, LLC
1632 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
United States
+1-202-341-3722
steve.levy@fairwindspartners.com

Now I really don’t have the time or money to get into some legal battle that I would probably end up losing in the long run, so I said I would come up with a new domain, and would remove their logo (as obfuscated as it is) from our header.

Our communication back-and-forth has been very cordial, and Mr. Levy said that they could give me a reasonable amount of time to make the switch, get the new site indexed, etc. but I can’t find a domain name I like yet this morning.

We’ve established a pretty good  business here, and we’ve got some good search rankings, decent backlinks, and a loyal base of returning customers who know us by name.  Changing domain names is really going to require some thought, and this morning I set out to get one.

My first thought was to follow the suggestions that WordPress makes here and use a WP instead of their name, but when I tried to buy GetWP.com I found that it was already taken.  I was surprised at that, so I tried to visit the site, but when I did,  I got redirected to a subdomain of WP.com, called get.wp.com –  Huh? Could it be?

Yep – I looked up the registrant information, and found that the domain I want –  GetWP.com –  is already owned by the folks at WordPress – The same people telling me to use WP!

Registrant:
   Automattic, Inc.
   60 29th Street
   #343
   San Francisco, California 94110-4929
   United States

I really like the name GetWP.com, and feel it would be a fair substitution – after all, they’re not even USING it!  So I wrote the lawyer back just now, asking if maybe they’ll consider giving me getwp.com, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Anyway, I thought I’d share – After they refuse, have you got any ideas for me for another good domain name?