Buy YourName.com So a “Blogger” Doesn’t Get It First

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A few months ago, an Oregon judge ruled that Crystal Cox, a self-proclaimed blogger, was not media under the First Amendment and entitled to protection from libel lawsuits. Bloggers everywhere cried foul, as did many lawyers. What’s now clear, thanks to the same judge’s order denying Cox’s motion for a new trial, is that, whatever else she may be, Cox is running a protection racket. First, she ruins someone’s online reputation by posting false and defamatory—but very well-optimized for search—stuff. Then she offers to “fix” their reputation for a steep monthly fee.

One key part of her modus operandi is buying domains based on her victims’ names—and possibly even family members’ names. For example, she might buy GeorgeCostanza.com, if she thought George Costanza was vulnerable enough and wealthy enough to pay her off. That makes it easy to “win” the SEO game for that person’s name.

Fortunately, there’s an easy roadblock you can throw up for Cox or “bloggers” like her: buy YourName.com. It costs $10 a year to buy a domain name, which is a heckuva lot cheaper than the $2,500 per month Cox was asking from Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance Group. Here’s how to do it. Got to the domain host of your choice (we use Hover.com, but you can use GoDaddy or NameCheap or a bunch of others). Make sure you can buy your name (no hyphens), and buy it. It doesn’t hurt to include the .net and .org extensions, but definitely get the .com, if you can.

It’s no guarantee you will never fall victim to an online reputation protection racket, but it’s a good way to make it difficult to target your reputation.

(HT Simple Justice, The Volokh Conspiracy)

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-brown/16891879/)

  • http://questionoflaw.net Lisa Solomon

    You should also buy yourkidsname.com to protect each child for the future. I also bought domains including their middle names (and maybe even the .me domains; I don’t remember off the top of my head).

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Agreed on getting your kids’ names. I’m not sure you need middle names and nicknames, but if you don’t mind a few extra bucks a year, it can’t hurt.

  • Andy Mergendahl

    Legal names or more-commonly used nicknames? jondoe.com vs. jonathondoe.com ? Both?

  • Jessie Lundberg

    Just went and did this – took all of 5 minutes. In preparing to open my own practice, I’ve purchased several domains I wanted for that but surprisingly never thought to get my name. Thanks for the tip – I would have been seriously annoyed if/when I realized a cyber-squatter took it.

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover