Microsoft is using extortion moans typo-squatter
Pot calls kettle black
By Nick Farrell
Wed Apr 07 2010, 11:57
MORE PROOF that there must be something in the water that innoculates Americans from recognising irony has surfaced in California.
Alf Temme was sued by Microsoft last month over his thriving typo-squatting business. He bought domain names such as "ho0tmail.com" and "hot5mail.com," then redirected Hotmail users to his company's website, fastexercise.com, where he sells expensive exercise machines.
Temme said that he would have surrendered the domain names if the Vole had written a big enough number on a cheque.
In its lawsuit the Vole wanted the domain names and $2.4 million to go away.
Last week, however, Temme got a letter from Microsoft's law firm, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, with a settlement offer of $500,000.
Temme moaned to the Seattle PI that what Microsoft is in effect trying to do is put a small company of eight employees out of business. Then without the slightest trace of irony he claimed, "It's extortion! All they could have wanted to do was get the domain names."
However Teme claims that he is not an "evil Typo dude", he is actually just trying to flog his $14,615 ROM Time Machine exerciser. Over the last two decades he has sold 5,300 of them.
Teme said that misspelled domain names are prime real estate. "It's just like if you were to buy some property next to Disneyland," he said last month. "Put a hotel on it, you should not be able to get sued for 'property squatting.'"
But unfortunately for him there is an Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act in the US, which says Temme's typo-squatting is illegal.
Thus, however Temme puts his spin on it, he is a criminal who makes money off the back of a Microsoft trademark. In short it is extortion.
If the Vole wants money because of his antics it might be extortionate but that only highlights his original extortion.
It is a bit like a hacker claiming that the coppers illegally hacked into his network to convict him. µ