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I have a domain name "GooglePlayStall.com".

I want to know, will Google penalize me for using their name in domain?

I want to make this site as a "Fan version" of "GooglePlay".

I will pick popular apps of "Google Play" and will describe the application (its uses etc) in the post and at the end of each post there will be link to the app at Google Play.

Is this safe? Should I go for it?

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Sell the domain name to Google, at least you'll get some cash back! –  mickburkejnr Apr 27 '12 at 11:53
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@mickburkejnr domain squatting against Google and trying to blackmail them for money isn't a very good idea. They can simply contact the registrar and have it transferred even without a court order as Google's a famous brand like Rolex and CocaCola –  Anagio Apr 27 '12 at 12:00
    
Well in fairness he's not squatting as his intentions were different to that. But I understand your viewpoint. –  mickburkejnr Apr 27 '12 at 13:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

(I'm answering this from the perspective of U.S. law; your legal jurisdiction may have different laws.)

It depends on your intent. In your case, it's not likely to cause any problems unless you try to pass yourself off as being affiliated with Google—you should probably have disclaimers denying any such affiliation just in case.

If, OTOH, you were squatting on the site, intending on:

  • making money by selling a domain containing another's trademark,
  • or generate advertising revenue from their trademark

then you would likely have your domain seized from you (and potentially sued for damages if you reside in the U.S.).

However, since you're not squatting or trying to profit from selling the domain, but rather create a site that references a trademarked product/service, then U.S. trademark law allows you to use another company's trademark (including in a domain) since you have to in order to refer to that product/service.

This is basically the same as sites like Mustang Forums, Apple Insider, and the various gaming-console-centered communities out there with names containing "xbox", "wii", "psp", "ps3", etc. All of these sites fall under nominative use, so are perfectly legal. Google would most-likely also respect your legitimate use of their trademark.

And even if they disagreed with your using their trademark in your domain name, I haven't heard of any case of Google abusing their search monopoly to censor or punish legal sites they disagreed with. In fact, if they started skewing search results by intentionally injecting their corporate biases into rankings, then they would quickly lose marketshare to other search engines that ranked sites/pages purely based on content quality and relevance.

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Paypalsucks.com is a great example of how a person is using a trademarked name in a domain name, has received legal threats and uses fair use to fight to keep the domain name for many years. Foodnetworkhumor.com is another which amazes me because they have ripped off the tradmark, logo, branding, and all the people on FoodNetwork who have their own trademarks and they generate revenue from advertisements on the site. But squatting trying to sell your Google domain back to them is ill advised. DMCA's, C&D's is typical of what you get as a first warning before law suits. –  Anagio Apr 27 '12 at 22:49
    
@Anagio: Yea, gripe sites as well as parodies are the other big fair use categories for trademark usage. Though there are still cases where legal bullying by a clearly much better funded trademark holder has caused fair use to be tossed aside for parodies (the Seuss-Geisel estate is well-known for this). –  Lèse majesté Apr 27 '12 at 23:47
    
Another case is LensCrafters whos legal team sent a C&D to a website because it's Glossary defined what Transitions lenses were which is a registered trademark of LensCrafters. As you said it comes down to the companies and how they choose to pursue IP violations. –  Anagio Apr 28 '12 at 1:11
    
Thanks Lèse majesté. I will write all the disclaimers in the "About Us" page. Should I add a disclaimer in meta description also? –  Chankey Pathak Apr 28 '12 at 18:37
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I think I can do it, I will follow all the terms and conditions mentioned here (google.com/permissions/guidelines.html), then I'm good to go :) –  Chankey Pathak Apr 28 '12 at 18:48

They can file a DMCA and seize control of the domain, that's worse than being 'penalized'

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