Wednesday , March 22 2023

Airbnb fails to recover through cybersquatting dispute

Company says the domain name was stolen.

Screenshot of social payments platform from 2017

Airbnb acquired social payments company Tilt in 2017. It says the domain was later stolen from it. Image from 2017 Wayback Machine capture of

Airbnb, Inc. has failed to recover the domain name, which it says was stolen from it, through a cybersquatting complaint.

The company filed a UDRP dispute with National Arbitration Forum. Airbnb acquired the domain name when it bought social payments company Tilt in 2017.

The thief tried to sell the domain to domain investor James Booth this year, but the transaction was put on ice once the parties became aware that it might be a stolen domain.

Greenberg & Lieberman, which runs the escrow service, was the escrow service for the transaction and is now listed as the owner. The firm has been working to return the domain to Airbnb, but Airbnb decided to try to recover it with a UDRP.

UDRP was created for clear-cut cybersquatting cases, and this dispute doesn’t fall within its limited purview.

Airbnb argued that rejecting this case could allow domain thieves to transfer domains to third parties that hold a domain in bad faith. The panel rejected this slippery slope argument and said potential future cases shouldn’t impact the correct decision in this case.

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