Exclusive: The 15k website

IF you click on the link to www.masterchef.co.uk not much is likely to happen, a blank webpage may spring up or something that will tell you that you’ve broken the internet.

Yet if you wanted to post something up instead of the hole that is there at the moment, say a picture of Masterchef judges Greg Wallace or John Turode, that’s going to cost you… About £15,000.

We know the rate because a couple of months ago, Shine Limited, a TV company based in Primrose Hill which produces the BBC cookery contest, Masterchef, claimed they were being mucked about over the domain name. They wanted it but someone had already grabbed it: Sam Rosen, from Peoples Net Services Limited.

A flashpoint, the matter ended up in the hands of an adjudicator. Someone pointed me towards the paperwork the other day and they show how Shine claimed that http://www.masterchef.co.uk had been mischievously registered with the idea that one day it would prove such an important marketing tool that it could be sold on to the makers of Masterchef for a tidy profit. The respondents denied such cynical behaviour

It’s interesting, however, to see how the tetchy negotiations over something so simple but important as a website address played out. Shine offered £300. Rejected by Rosen. The bid was upped to £1,000. Rosen asked for £15,000. Shine wrote to say that the price was grossly inflated. Rosen wrote to say we’ll set the prices how we see fit.

His words were: “You are always entitled to your views. We are entitled to price domains at whatever we like and we are certainly not pricing in any goodwill that you claim already exists in the name. If we were to be doing as you suggest, any price we would be quoting would be very much higher than we have previously indicated.”

Not much wriggle room there. As Wallace might bellow: Registering websites doesn’t get tougher than this…

An important point: Rosen and Peoples Net Services had not approached Shine. They came up with the £15,o00 quote only when Shine approached them. This, it was claimed, showed they had not been hawking the domain name and the idea of a potential sale came entirely from the makers of Masterchef.

Interestingly, however, the documents show that Peoples Net Services, based in Kilburn, have apparently amassed a large collection of internet addresses, including:

dealhome.net; neighboursnet.net; neighboursnet.com; neighboursnet.net; okbarack.com; okbarack.net; okbarack.org; okbarack.us; okobama.net; okobama.org; okobama.us; okpresident.net; okpresident.org; okpresident.us; okyeswecan.com; okyeswecan.net; and okyeswecan.us

It was argued by Shine that these registrations were also attempts to cash in on Barack Obama’s election as US President (he must be absolutely gutted he didn’t grab okobama.net), Aussie soap Neighbours and the Ideal Home magazine. Again, Peoples Net again rejected all these claims and they were not upheld by the adjudicator.
And in the end an independent expert working on the http://www.masterchef.co.uk case found against Shine and for Rosen, concluding there was no evidence to suggest it had all been a plot to make money on the back of Masterchef’s success. Cerryg Jones ruled: “There is no evidence that the Respondent, at the time of registration, sought to target the Masterchef registered trade marks. In that respect, it is important to note that at the time of registration of the Domain Name, the Complainant did not exist.”

1 Comment on Exclusive: The 15k website

  1. It could be argued though that Masterchef has been around since 1990, before the generally accepted present concept of ‘The Internet’, even though Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine productions haven’t been producing it that long. At least they got to challenge it – I suffer from an ‘anonymised’ squatter that I can’t even contact to make an offer.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: