If I Was eBay, I Would FIRE MarkMonitor

Okay, bear with me and I want to make something very clear from the top…. this is my opinion. I did not speak directly with MarkMonitor or eBay/Paypal . The following is based on factual information that I can see on the public web and my opinion.

So, Paypal® announced “Passport” in June 2014 and yesterday 8/1/2014, registered two domains… PaypalPassport.co and Paypal-Passport.co with brand protection service MarkMonitor? So I was like “ok, brand protection registrations but I will dig into it a little because I haven’t heard of the service”

I did a search on Google.com for the exact match term: paypal passport

I really couldn’t find much of anything directly from Paypal? I didn’t see any passport.paypal.com or Passport.com or PaypalPassport.com? That is kind of odd I thought. The service launched over a month and half ago according to this TechCrunch.com article and Paypal announced on one of its sites, Paypal.co.uk . In fact, the articles hit the web on June 12, 2014.

So I visited Paypal.com/passport as THEY stated in the blog post on Paypal.co.uk  and doesn’t it redirect to Paypal-Passport.com! Really Paypal? Really! A tech company your size is going to launch a global product on a hyphen domain?

Well, a site owner can prevent a search engine from indexing a website, so maybe Paypal did this for some reason? I did a site:paypal-passport.com search and 0 indexed pages. Ok.

To make the failed domain story even bigger… Paypal registered the domain Paypal-Passport.com on May 9, 2014… plenty enough time before launch but it makes me wonder if MarkMonitor simply failed to register the non-hyphen domain or did eBay not communicate that they wanted the exact match domain with no hyphen as well? Clearly, yesterday they registered both the hyphen version and non-hyphen versions in .co domains!

Well, PaypalPassport.com was registered by a Xiamen eName Network Co., Ltd. customer and is parking the domain name with Oversee.net’s parking company. (yes, this is a true act of cybersquatting) The domain was registered 6/12/2014, the day the news was reported by TechCrunch.

Why would a company the size of Paypal be dumb enough to first, announce publicly that they are launching Paypal Passport and not register the exact match .com domain prior? They had MarkMonitor in some way register the Paypal-Passport.com domain 1+ month prior to any information being public, so why not the EMD?

MarkMonitor is a brand protection company, hired by many large companies. I’m sure they get paid fairly well for what they do, but if Paypal/eBay were my client… I would be heard from daily and constantly that they NEED to register PaypalPassport.com if they are launching a product called “Paypal Passport”. I wouldn’t have stopped telling them that until they did register it, period.

Then, Paypal launches the product on a stand alone hyphen domain? Google probally thinks your real domain is a fake! (ha ha)

Either way, I’d fire MarkMonitor as my “brand management” company for them not either highly suggesting to eBay, or simply registering the domain on be-half of eBay/Paypal, because they (Paypal/eBay) are making a BIG mistake in not registering PaypalPassport.com . There is NO REASON for eBay/Paypal to be registering hyphened domains and not the EMD. None!. Now they will have to fight for the domain legally, which takes time and money and was easily preventable from the start.

Maybe Paypal simply has a liking to hyphen domains? Based on the ad I had seen on Google on Page 2 confirms it. (yes, Paypal owns Paypal-Prepaid.com…. and you guessed it, NOT PaypalPrepaid.com)


They use the sub-domain “get” as a play on the hyphen domain Paypal-Prepaid.com domain to “tell a story” with the ad. Get Paypal Prepaid. Makes sense if people understand the domain structure and don’t think it looks “fishy” or trying to trick somebody.

I have no clue why Paypal is doing this. PaypalPrepaid.com has a very similar situation as to PaypalPassport.com . ename registered, parked. Since MarkMonitor is hired by eBay/Paypal I think it is there job to prove that it is vital to own both versions of the domain from the start and I wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Related Posts

10 thoughts on “If I Was eBay, I Would FIRE MarkMonitor

  1. I’m sure they are in the process of obtaining the non-hyphened
    version of the name with their legal department.

    1. My biggest grief is that MarkMonitor is a brand protection company. They are hardly protecting the Paypal brand, just registering the hyphen versions. This is simply creating brand problems, not helping to protect them.

  2. the .co and hyphenated .com are almost not worth registering, sounds like MarkMonitor need to stress “being in the know” so they can save their clients and lawyers some grief.

  3. This wouldn’t be the first time that large companies — and those particular large companies — have shown such ineptitude.

    All sorts of reasons …

    Left hand not knowing what the right hand is up to …

    Runaway publicity unable to contain its excitement while procurement sets up the necessary infrastructure …

    A culture of reactive, defensive registrations rather than advance planning with regard to domains …

    In my own experience, I could tell some stories — except that mostly I can’t. One non-client client once asked me to procure a domain from their competitor and then mentioned that the CEO would be publicly announcing that new name (for that domain they still didn’t own) within 24 hours. What’s more, they were moving from a good domain to an inferior domain. I declined as politely as I could.

  4. “bare with me” is the mantra of nudist colonies but “BEAR with me” will serve you well in this context.It’s not just about ursus ursus

    1. Fixed 😉 but bears scare me! Plus, I’m a Packers fan so I try to use “bear” as little as I can 🙂

  5. As with many large service companies, MarkMonitor offers an a-la-carte menu of service offerings that clients can choose from. If eBay, like many companies where I have colleagues, hired MarkMonitor as it’s corporate registrar ONLY, then MarkMonitor would simply purchase domains ordered by eBay and there would be no advisory services. Many companies are too short-sighted to see the value in a comprehensive brand protection service. That is not MarkMonitor’s fault. This is typical of an big corporation trying to do too much with too little invested. Happens every day and I would bet you my house, eBay never asked MarkMonitor for it’s advice. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    1. The good news for eBay, after this article, patterns are showing that they took my advice in some fashion and are registering both versions of new domain names they are registering now.

Comments are closed.