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Wed 6 Jan 2010 09:01 AM

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TRA secures .ae website for Burj Khalifa

After cybersquatters take .com, official confirms new website for tallest tower.

TRA secures .ae website for Burj Khalifa
TALL TOWER: Fireworks light the Burj Khalifa. (ITP Images)

The UAE's telecoms regulator has reserved the domain name www.burjkhalifa.ae for use to promote the world's tallest building online after reports that the .com version had already been snapped up by a domain name squatter.

The official website for the tower was initially launched last week under its previous name - www.burjdubai.com - but officials have said they now have an alternative.

Mohammed Gheyath, executive director of the Technology Development Affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, confirmed that the domain name burjkhalifa.ae had been secured but did not say when it would be put live.

The website was not operational on Wednesday morning when Arabian Business tried to log on to it while the original burjdubai.com address was still live.

Gheyath said in comments published by news agency WAM that reserving the domain name "came to protect the rights of the authorised entity entitled to this domain, protect the intellectual property rights, and safeguard the domain from cybersquatters".

He said the move by TRA to secure a .ae domain name was aimed at encouraging the use of the .ae domain name space.

In October, the TRA said it was targeting new UAE businesses in the second phase of its campaign to increase the number of .ae websites.

The main objective of the campaign is to target new businesses that have yet to register a domain name and also existing organisations who have not registered for a .ae domain name, the TRA said.

Up to August 2009, the number of new registrations increased by 30 percent up to 90,000 .ae websites registered, compared to about 80 million .com websites.

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His Excellency Dr Paul 10 years ago

My company originally had a .ae domain as well as .com and .co.uk. But we let it expire because the renewal process was expensive and inconvenient. The TRA are wasting their time and money advertising to try to encourage businesses to use it until the costs are reduced at registration/payment can be done online. You either have to apply in person or fax documents! You can register a .com for 10 bucks a year online in seconds. It's the second decade of the 21st century now and the UAE's domain registrar is still stuck in the mid 1990s. Sorting these issues out would cost far less than their advertising campaign and result in far more applications. It's sadly so typical - a PR campaign rather than fixing the underlying problems.

Yaser 10 years ago

I want to know; whether it is legal to buy domain names ahead and sell it to the perspective company or not. For some reason i feel that this was allowed before; but after the onset of AEDA; this has changed. So for example if somebody has come to know that Vodafone or Orange are coming to UAE; in 6 months; and decides to buy vodafone.ae or orange.ae; is that fine? is it allowed and that site wouldnt be taken later from that ordinary person? If not; why isn't this type of trade treated as for instance the special mobile or plate numbers? isn't it the same case here?

J Smith 10 years ago

Yaser, unless you someone who's name also happens to be "vodafone" or own a well-know product also called the same then you have no rights to register "vodafone" with any domain extension. This is clear trademark infringement (i.e. your intent was to register just so as to extort money from the real owner of the trademark). There is lots of international case law supporting this since 1999. I personally worked on the first case in the UK for British Telcom which went all the way to the Court of Appeal in England (BT and Others vs. One in a Million). Interestingly, One in a Million's argument were that domain names should be treated the same as car registration plates - and that's what they wanted to do, just hold the domains for "bragging rights". The judges all disagreed - it was clear the whole business case was to extort money from the rightful trademark owner (they wrote numerous letters offering to sell the domains to the rightful owners for large sums of money). It becomes a more grey area where the domain name includes a generic work like "orange" or an abbreviation like "BT". In this instance the surrounding circumstances are more relevant (e.g. is there evidence of threats or sale to highest bidder?) The system has changed too - the courts are less involved with such disputes and it is usually the domain registrar that hears a dispute and decides who has the right (or more of a right) to a trademark. In this case its not always the first to register (Apple computer vs. Apple music - the Beatles label) but who can spend the most money on lawyers...

Yaser 10 years ago

J Smith- thanks for all this explanation; i've never known this; and this way i can comprehend. I didn't really think that such cases were taken into courts; and i really thought that it is absolutely legal in other parts of the world to buy a domain such as vodafone.com or etisalat.com; if they were available. Thanks for your explanation; and i read more about this.

Gunther Pott 10 years ago

the dot-com domain seems to have been registered Jan 4, 2010, just a few days ago. my guess: this wasn't just a coincidence. there are still plenty of people thinking they could register a domain and then sell it for good money to the rightful owner, used to be that way in the 'early' days a few years ago. how to determine the rightful owner? depends on many things: trademarks, intentions and what not, and while not always the best method and not infallible, filing a dispute through the current UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) is the way to go in such a case. so let the guy try to sell the domain to TRA or make it into something in order to make money with the traffic that will sure come his way soon. TRA should then file the dispute and see if they get the .com name and then learn the lessons for future projects: register the domains before you go public - and make sure you get the dot-com. it is just a fact that dot-com (still) is what most people world-wide use when they try to navigate directly to a website they expect to find. domain names are your internet real estate, and dot-com is beach-front property and with the corporate world just now only beginning to move to the internet in a more serious fashion, this will continue to be true for quite some time to come. .ae is fine, but how many people in the rest of the world, after they have heard about the new Burj Khalifa will intuitively find it using .ae? how many global internet users even know about .ae or where it leads them to? a building of the magnitude of the Burj Khalifa, a city that is truly international in its appeal absolutely needs the relevant dot-com names for its internet presence. ....and while they're at it, they should hire a domain-savvy person or one of the domain strategy consulting firms out there and get the .net, .org and other extensions as well, just to make sure they get all the traffic that, in this case, should be rightfully theirs.

Online Expert 10 years ago

It is a sad story of going public before securing the .com / .net / .org domain names but the good news is that TRA can acquire all the domain names based on specific facts. I agree big companies must have an online strategist / consultant to help them ... the opportunity (or loss of opportunity) is much greater than the loss of a simple domain name! I am willing to help the city I love ... Dubai

Zhan 10 years ago

Its really true, before you go on public with your company name be sure you already lock the domain specially the (.COM). I was surprise because the domain was bought on the day it was announced, so I thought.. ahhh... Burj Khalifa bought it. Only hours it was announce and when I check burjkhalifa.com is already taken. Sad to say they didn't get it. I'm sure this people we're just leaving or working in UAE. The owner of the domain is from Pakistan. "Peace Bro".

khalid 10 years ago

Just to clarify some of missunderstanding here. the TRA only controls the UAE internet code .ae while they have no control over .com. what TRA did is to help Emaar to get .ae by dissallowing anyone except Emaar to register burjkhalifa.ae. it is Emaar responsibilty to register the .com & .ae name in advance.