A furious domain owner has set up a protest site to publicise Easy Group's heavy-handed legal tactics in trying to take over his easibook.com site.
But despite the potentially ruinous cost and the thousands of pounds already paid out in legal fees, Alan Cooke is determined to protect his easibook business and also aid other "easy" domain holders who have received unwelcome attention from the company.
The site at www.easyprotest2.com is a sad reminder that Easy Group - the owner of EasyRentaCar and the EasyEverything Internet cafes (and part owner of EasyJet - continues to pursue legitimate owners in its quest to own every domain that contains the word "easy".
Easyprotest2 is excellently written and gives a history of Easy Group's domain crusade as well as Cooke’s own dispute. It also includes the Easy Group legal arguments and extensive counter-arguments from Cooke on why he thinks each point is flawed. It also contains a good section on how you can help, so pay it a visit if you feel the need today to protect someone's business against a domain-munching multi-national.
You have probably noticed by now that Alan Cooke’s Easibook domain name is spelt with an "i" rather than an "y". He is keen to point out that the site is business-to-business, password protected and sells hotel rooms - something that EasyGroup has yet to venture into.
It would be difficult to see where Easy Group's argument lay, but as we have covered in the past, there is no validity in the corporation's claims. Instead, the multi-million pound company uses the threat of costly legal action to force domain holders to hand over their URLs.
The legal action against Mr Cooke starting just weeks after the owner of Easy Group Stelios Haji-Iannou called us in person to explain why all the "easy" sites that had received legal letters were legitimate targets trading off the back of his business.
We noted at the time that despite hundreds of legal letters to domain holders, only one of these cases had proceeded to court, and that was settled. That case was intriguing in that it was over the first protest site - www.easyprotest.com - started by another angry domain holder.
The site now points to www.easycar.com. (Which, incidentally was another domain that was wrestled from the hands of the original owner after the Easy Group claimed it was effectively running on the back of its EasyRentaCar business. EasyRentacar has subsequently transformed into EasyCar.)
The Easy Group has turned away from the accepted method of domain dispute as run by ICANN after several decisions went against it. ®
The Easy Group domain crusade
EasyGroup domain name dispute inches towards court
More Easy riders on the domain name storm
The Easy way to donate money to charity
This is how Easy Group enforces its domain name 'rights'
Easy now: Stelios calls to explain his company's behaviour
We're not stamping on Web dissenters, says Easy Group
The Easy way to crush dissenting voices