The US Open championship is in full swing in New York City right now, with the finals just around the corner this weekend. As one of the four events that make up the Grand Slam, one of the highest achievements in tennis, the US Open is always hugely popular. When I searched for the official Web site of the Open to find out how Roger Federer is doing, I typed “usopen.com” into my browser’s address bar. Indeed, I arrived at a page for the U.S. Open – but for golf, not tennis.
As it turns out, the official site for the US Open for tennis is usopen.org. The United States Golf Association (USGA) owns the domain name in the .COM, while the United States Tennis Association (USTA) owns the domain name in the .ORG. The trademark “US Open” is registered to the USTA, while the trademark “U.S. Open” is registered to the USGA. The only real difference between the two marks is the use of punctuation in “US,” which does not transfer well into forming distinct domain names.
I did a little digging into what other domains users might search in hopes of accessing the site for either the golf or tennis championship. First I tried usopengolf.com and usopentennis.com. The former does not resolve, while the latter leads to a site that is not affiliated with the USTA but hosts links to buy U.S. Open tickets and merchandise. Then I searched theusopen.com and theusopen.org. A pay-per-click site and one that doesn’t resolve, but is owned by a Florida ticket broker. Finally, I typed in usopen.net. Interestingly, this last domain leads to a pay-per-click site that happens to be for sale. Argh, do I dare say it? What if there was .tennis and .golf – could they make life simpler – usopen.golf and usopen.tennis – or am I just asking for even more trouble? According to a recent article I read, .Sports would argue that these TLDs shouldn’t exist, since they belong under a general sports umbrella.
Attempts to set up TLDs like this in the past have kind of gone bust. Last time I checked the major aerospace company names in .aero, most did’t even resolve. One domain, Airbus.aero, promotes the business of MelbourneIT, a registrar.
Never a simple answer.
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