Jeanette Söderlund Vice President of Marketing and Online Brand Protection at Desktop.com. She is also a published author, and a domain name lawyer / intellectual property consultant. She is an expert in strategy issues, disputes and acquisition of domain names and trademarks.
She has achieved excellent results in handling UDRP cases as well as preparing cease and desist letters and complaints for a variety of domain name dispute resolution systems for ccTLD’s.
Mike: You have a depth of experience in the domain industry, but let’s start with Desktop.com. The website shows “2020 Launch.” What can we expect when the site launches? How long before it does?
Jeanette: We’re hoping to be able to post a teaser version of the website within 8 weeks, but a full launch will likely be closer to (or during) the summer 2020.
Mike: Desktop.com is clearly a great keyword domain. I see that it was acquired by Rolf Larsen, chairman and founder of DNS Global and the Dot Global Registry. Can you share what the purchase price was?
Jeanette: We’re not able to disclose the price at this time. It was, however, a significant amount as you can imagine.
Mike: Your prior role was VP or industry Relations at Dot Global. How did your experience there prepare you for the new role with Desktop.com?
Jeanette: Both companies are tech startups with a distributed global team, so in that sense the work environment and pace is very similar. Also, DotGLOBAL wasn’t just a registry but also a company where several software services for the domain industry was born. The software services part of the business was later separated from the registry and is now being owned and run by the previous staff of Dot GLOBAL. See https://dns.global. The registry was sold to Afilias in June of 2019. Desktop.com will also have a place in the domain industry, although in a different way, and both roles certainly require me to wear many “hats” at once.
Mike: The landing page at Desktop is unlike others I have seen. The screen shifts around with the movement of the mouse. Is this any indication of what the user interface will be like?
Jeanette: Not really. If anything, the landing page indicates that Desktop.com will be offered as a service that works across all devices. 😉
Mike: The domain Desk.top, which is a clever domain hack, also points to Desktop.com. What are the plans for this once the site goes live? Will it continue to point or will it have a new purpose?
Jeanette: We currently have many related domains and typo domains pointing to desktop.com, including desk.top. As of right now, we have no plans to use any of those domains for anything other than gathering traffic and protecting the brand desktop.com.
Mike: The domain was previously owned by an application service provider that simulated a users desktop over the web. This was defunct in 2001. Later it appears to have been used by IdeaLabs for a floating toolbar. Then as a site for selling computers. Is it anticipated that any of the previous uses of the domain will impact user perception going forward?
Jeanette: Correct, it was historically used with the intent to offer a virtual desktop, although limitations in infrastructure and technology was likely a factor back then (some 20 years ago). Our plans are slightly different, but definitely related to that kind of use.
We don’t believe that the way the domain was used earlier will have any notable user perception impact for us.
Mike: As a domain attorney, what advice do you have if someone is to receive a cease and desist order?
Jeanette: The answer to that would be “it depends”. It depends on quite a few factors, such as whether the sender of the C&D letter actually have the rights that they are claiming or if they are overreaching, if the domain owner has a legitimate interest and what can be proven. Generally, though, if it relates to a domain name that is valuable to you and that you have a genuine good faith interest in, I’d recommend discussing with a domain name lawyer how to create the best response to the C&D letter to strengthen your position going forward. With a solid enough response, the sender of the letter might just decide to drop the case (again, depending on the circumstances in the individual case). If, however, after assessing the situation it is clear that you have registered a domain name that actually infringes on someone else’s rights, then simply following the instructions in the C&D and transferring the domain is the best way to go.
Mike: Please tell me about the books you have published and who the intended audience is.
Jeanette: The latest one is “Domain Names – Strategies and Legal Aspects, 2nd edition”
It’s intended as a guide to anyone that need a better understanding of domain names and their relationship to trademarks, as well as the role that they play for modern businesses. The reason why I wrote the book together with Malin Edmar was that we had both experienced a lack of understanding and knowledge among not only business owners, but also among those employees in a corporation that manage branding and marketing, of how to create a domain name strategy and why it’s so closely related to both marketing, legal and tech.
The book provides an overview that is useful regardless if you, for instance, manage that part of a business yourself and want to make more informed decisions, if you’re new in the domain name industry, or if you hire a corporate registrar to take care of your portfolio but want to be more knowledgeable in your discussions with them.