Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A primer on domain names based on me (with my real and nicknames)

Recently, I discussed the issue of website safety ratings for my own sites and blogs (on the Internet Safety blog Saturday March 12).

Although I don’t think there is a direct relation to safety, my practices of naming my domains could create some confusion among algorithms that do the rating, so I wanted to make a note today about how I have done things.

First, my legal name is “John William Boushka” or “John W. Boushka”. My parents gave me the common nickname “Bill” based on my (English origin) middle name.  That was to distinguish me from my father John Joseph Boushka.  So I have used “Bill Boushka” as my “pen name” (pseudonym, so to speak) on my three “Do Ask, Do Tell” books.

My main legacy site is “doaskdotell.com” set up in 1999, based on the book series title (domain name paid for through 2021).

There is an experimental site “billboushka.com” with an old Wordpress blog.  It was set up in 2006. It is no longer updated.

Most of my blog titles have the nickname “Bill” as part of the blog title. Three of the Google blogs have been equated to domain names.  One of these is “BillBoushka”, and since the “.com” was already taken, had to let Google Domains assign me another one, which has the TLD suffix “me” (Montenegro).

I also have a site johnwboushka.com which was set up in 2006 as a resume site, when I still had some hopes of continuing the old track IT career.

Before however, johnwboushka.com had been an experimental java site, to set up an “Opposing Viewpoints” chart.  It was abandoned when the company doing the java starter hosting failed in the summer of 2006.  That idea was then envisioned for “billboushka.com” which has a small mysql databae on the topic.

I am somewhat fortunate to have an unusual Eastern European last name.  Otherwise, using domain names with more than one first name would have been more likely to cause potential conflicts among distant relatives or namesakes.  However, the practice might in time not sit well with industry.
One reason, too, in the past, for having a proliferation of domains was not to have all eggs in one basket.  Providers have failed in the past.

Further confusing the setup is the idea that Facebook requires use of real names.  So my Facebook ID is "john.boushka" which I've also used for gmail.  For Twitter and AOL I've used "jboushka".
However, this spring, I will look at consolidating the sites into fewer of them, with elimination of obsolete material.  One possibility would be to eliminate the current billboushka.com, use the name for the billboushka.me blog, and save or archive the database and old WP content elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Little forum about "free fish" (so to speak) prevails in trademark fight with big company

Drew Harwell writes on p. A15 of the Washington Post on Wednesday March 1, 2016, “A monster win for student lawyers: Pro bono clinic helps Md. Small-business owner take on major trademark bully”, Online, the title is “The college student took on one of America’s top trademark bullies –and won” 

The underdog of the story was Monster Fish Keepers which sells T-shirts and maintains forums about aquariums (how about “Free Fish”?)  The villain was Monster Beverage in Redondo Beach CA, a company (partly owned by Coca-Cola) that sells high energy beverages.

It sounds like a no-brainer.  The two companies are in unrelated businesses, so there should be no confusion.  (There is a gay bar called “The Monster” in Greemwich Village in NYC).  There can be a problem though with “famous marks”.

But the battle started when MFK filed for a trademark through the normal process with USPTO.  It does not appear to be based on the domain name alone in this case.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board did not allow the MSF’s trade dress, which it saw as too similar to the beverage company’s, but did allow the wordmark. And, by the way, "Free Fish" is the name of a short comedy mockumentary film in 2012 by Reid Ewing shot on location at the Monterrey Aquarium south of San Francisco.