Lockheed FCU’s Trademarks Go Nowhere

Lockheed FCU’s Trademarks Go Nowhere – Not Linked To Domain Names

A previous 2 part article entitled Domain Name Games (on supportcreditunions.com) pointed out that a mantra of internet name guru Big Jim says that it is important to link your trademarks to domain names. The trademarks, properly tied to domain names, works with your website, sending customers directly to your website without the possibility of them getting directed elsewhere. Failure to do this leads to situations where your customers and potential customers, who are trying to find you by searching for one of your trademarked names, get sent to other websites of the same name or similar name. People who get confused in this mass of internet names can easily give up. Everyone is in a big hurry these days, time is precious. How many times have you heard someone just say “screw it, it’s too much hassle” when looking for something on the internet? We have all felt that way one time or another. So making it easy for your customers should be a number one priority.

 

A search for trademarks for Lockheed Federal Credit Union (hereafter referred to as LFCU) turns up eight records. Taking a look at the trademarks shows that LFCU has missed the boat on most of these, making it harder for customers and potential customers to find them. This includes their new name, which will be launched in July of 2012. Let’s take a look at the trademark names in detail and see what the situation is.

 

The first name is a trademark for “Logix Smarter Banking”. I can’t reproduce the pictorials on these, but you can search google for the trademark visual and check out the designs yourself (www.trademarkia.com is a great tool for this. The company that provides this is LegalForce Trademarkia) The filing date for this trademark is recent, 5-30-2012, by LFCU’s excellent and professional trademark agents in Seattle. However, when you try to find a connected website for this, www.logixsmarterbanking.com, you go to a holding page at Domains By Proxy, which is a company owned by godaddy founder Bob Parsons. This company, Domains By Proxy, will hold the domain name owner in “secret”, hidden behind a wall of security. So who owns LogixSmarterBanking.com? Maybe Lockheed (LFCU) owns it in secret? But if they do, why not just re-direct the inquiries to their lfcu.com website? The guess is that LFCU does not own it. Since this looks to be their main logo for their new name, not owning the domain could cause a lot of confusion for their customers. A recent check shows that LFCU has obtained the name LogixBanking.com, which re-directs inquiries to their lfcu.com website. A step in the right direction on a long, confusing road. But without the words “credit union” attached, it looks like “Logix” is just another bank.

 

Next on the list is their trademark called Altis. This is under the category of Insurance and Financial Services, and listed as credit union services, loans, etc. This is a nice strong-sounding name, and was filed on 12-28-2011. Unfortunately, searching www.altis.com does not take you to LFCU, but instead to a company in Australia that is engaged in consulting, information dashboard design, data warehousing, business intelligence, and other web activities. The main IP for this company is in the states, in Sunneyvale, CA., but the company is in Sydney, NSW, the Land of Oz. They have had this great name since March 22, 1996. For a potential LFCU customer seeing the logo and trying to get to lfcu.com, this is a dead-end road, so to speak.

 

Third is another great sounding name that LFCU came up with: Aviance. This was filed on December 28, 2011, the same date they filed for Altis. The category for this is also Insurance and Financial Services, and states that it is for credit union services, loans, on-line banking, and more. If you try to find LFCU through this website, www.aviance.com, you are taken to a large airport services company. This company, Aviance, says that it is “the first ever alliance of airport services providers in the world. The alliance was created in 1999 to provide carriers with a co-operative alternative to the global handlers. The website is registered to a company in Istanbul, Turkey, and the IP server is somewhere near Kayseri, Turkey. The website seems to date from April 28, 2004, years before LFCU filed for the Aviance trademark. So once again, LFCU’s trademark does not match an internet domain. The latest look at the trademark information shows that a letter of suspension was mailed to LFCU on March 30, 2012. Possibly they are dropping this trademark, or are behind in filing some paperwork?

 

The fourth trademark is Logix Federal. The filing date for this trademark is given as September 2, 2011, before they filed for either Altis or Aviance. LFCU’s marketing folks must have been on full tilt that last quarter of 2011. The associated domains would be logixfederal.com and logixfederal.org. Both of these domain names are being held by Domains By Proxy, with the true owners shielded from view. Both were created in mid September, 2011, right after LFCU filed for the trademark, so the question is: if LFCU owns these domains why let them go to a dead end holding page at Domains By Proxy? Why not have them re-directed to the main LFCU web address of lfcu.com? Maybe these websites are not owned by LFCU, possibly a domain broker like Big Jim is scanning the trademark applications every day for opportunities. Perhaps one of the internet buccaneers has snagged it. At the moment, it’s a mystery. The domain name game can be a high-stakes game, with stacks of cash on the table, and many operators are scanning the business news looking for just such opportunities.

 

The fifth trademark to be discussed is Logix. This was also filed on September 2, 2011, a busy time at LFCU. This is also stated to be Insurance, financial services, and credit union activities. This is their most important trademark, as LFCU has announced that Lockheed FCU is changing its name to Logix FCU, so “Logix” will become the main name in July, 2012. “We are proud to announce that LFCU will soon become Logix.” they state on their website. As far as being able to get the domain name for this, the great name logix.com, the chances are about as great as becoming the King of England. Logix.com is owned by Logix, a very old communications company, that has its roots in the great breakup of AT&T, and the founding of American Telco in 1983. This is a major telecommunications company, with over 12,000 customers, based in Houston, Texas. The main IP server is in Oklahoma City. LFCU has made a major mistake in picking a name that they can never have as a domain .com. Think of the large amounts of money LFCU will be spending on this name change, legal, signage, letterheads, advertising, trademarks, etc. And after all that, when someone driving down the street spots the name Logix on the side of a building and searches on an Iphone or computer for logix.com, it will show up as the great Logix of Houston, TX, a large telecommunications company, not as LFCU. (There are alternatives of this that can still be pursued, such as a name that has “Logix” in it, that is a strong-sounding name that can be trademarked and also get the .com and other extensions that go with it. It’s never too late for this.) Meanwhile, what would Big Jim, the domain name whiz, say about this? I’m not asking, as the verbiage would too colorful for this article, and I have no reason to upset him, because ballistic he would go, and mere mortals like myself would have to run and hide. You get the idea.

 

But while we are on the logix domain subject, what about logic.org? That is at least in the ballpark, and something that LFCU should own. The current registrant of this domain is one Chris Nielsen from Minneapolis, MN, but the domain is hosted on a site in Germany. Is Mr. Nielsen a domain broker? Or is he acting on behalf of someone in Germany? It was created on January 1, 2011, months before LFCU filed for their Logix trademark in the fourth quarter of 2011. This great name is stated on one site to be for sale. Why LFCU did not grab this right away when they filed for their trademark is puzzling, to say the least. But this is still possible as of this writing.

 

The sixth trademark is another, older version of Logix Smarter Banking. This is the same name as the first trademark discussed, but the artwork on the name is not as fancy as the more recent one. This earlier rendition of the name was filed on September 2, 2011, along with Logix Federal and Logix, a busy time for the LFCU’s trademark agent. It was also stated to be in credit union activities and financial services. As stated before, the names logixsmarterbanking.com and .org both go to a Domains By Proxy holding page.

 

The seventh trademark on the list is more of a slogan than a logo. It is: “It Pays To Be A Member”. This was filed back on March 3, 2004, and classed as the usual insurance and financial affairs. The domain name itpaystobeamember.com is registered to something called Industrial Credit Union of Bellingham, WA, and was created in May 13, 2009. It goes to a link page type of website. The IP server is located in NY. Checking out itpaystobeamember.org, it was created on July 27, 2011, and if you type this in to your browser it will take you to something called The Indiana Farm Bureau. LFCU’s trademark was years before either of these domains. Their failure to grab both the .com and .org for ItPaysToBeAMember is baffling, they could have easily owned these for chump change, and redirected visitors to the lfcu.com site.

 

The last trademark on the list is another that is more of a slogan type, although a strong, good one: MyMoneyManager. This would also be a powerful .com name. It was filed on January 29, 2002. Currently mymoneymanager.com goes to a website called Ferguson Asset Management, Inc, an independent money management firm and registered investment adviser. They filed for this on September 1, 1998, years before Lockheed filed for their trademark. As for the other extension for this, the mymoneymanager.org, it is registered to a UK firm, Energy Internet Group. This was created on March 23, 2012, very recently, and typing in the domain goes to a link page with financial links. LFCU could have had this name years ago. The latest information on this trademark is that no statement of use was filed, and this great name was abandoned by LFCU on June 18, 2003.

 

As internet name guru Big Jim says, trademarks should be connected to domain names in all the possibilities that can be thought of, with every .com, .org, .net and dot everything. This study of LFCU’s trademarks can be a lesson learned for other credit unions, as well as for LFCU. Link the domains for your trademarks back to your main website. But first you have to obtain those domains, something that LFCU has often failed to do.

The Domain Name Game Part 2 – Hacking Through The Web of Mysterious Faux Web Sites That Plague the Credit Unions.

The Domain Name Game – Part 2

The Web of Mysterious Faux Web Sites That Plague the Credit Unions

The Nobby Beach Boyz Take a Bite Out of Star One

I call them the Nobby Beach Boyz because their domain is in Nobby Beach, the heart of Australia’s Gold Coast. Way down in the land of Oz, nowhere near the Northern California headquarters of Star One Credit Union, is the hidden lair of a domain name that was unprotected by Star, and has fallen into the hands of “someone” in Nobby Beach, hiding behind a wall of privacy. The Nobby Beach Boyz own the name StarOneCreditUnion.com. How the real Star One left this unprotected is baffling. But on 23 November, 2008 they snagged the name, and what they have done should be a lesson learned to any company. By the way, PrivacyProtect.org of Australia is the shield now around the real owner or owners of StarOneCreditUnion.com. And don’t bother to write, as “all postal mails rejected”.

 

Nobby Beach sounds like a great place to vacation, wedged between Mermaid Beach and Miami Beach on the famous “Gold Coast”. Nice places to stay for families, picnic areas, BBQ pits, theme parks like Sea World, Wildlife Sanctuary, Outback Spectacular, Warner Bros Movie World, cycling, swimming, bushwalking and much more. Not a bad place to operate a world-wide buccaneering operation.

 

So what happens when you type in StarOneCreditUnion.com. Firstly, for some reason, the Nobby Beach Boyz don’t want to use this real name, even though, as we have seen, the real StarOne failed to get the Trademark for it. Be that as it is, the web site is some kind of a static page, which redirects to another page. This page looks like the actual page, but the name is actually miss-spelled, on purpose. The web address you are taken to is 1starceditunion.com Notice that the name is “cedit”, not “credit” union.com.

 

When you hit the front page a series of links appear: Names like Credit Services, Loan Application, Pay Bills Online, Online Banking, Small Business Loans, Wealth Management, Credit Counseling, Business Lending, and more. A click on the very top link, Credit Services, takes you right to a link to bankofamerica.com. Talk about sending your potential customers to the enemy! This credit service click-through page lists 10 linked “ads”, including Discover Card, other credit card companies and finance companies. The front page list of links goes to other pages of links, which go to other links, search engines, banks like Wells Fargo, Chase, credit card and finance companies, on and on, an inverse pyramid that opens wide to the sky. Most of the links seem to be “ads”, probably paid for on a “click through” basis, as most are these days. In the forest of links they have even thrown in links to the “real” Star One Credit Union, but it is not that easy to find. Staroneceditunion.com is mainly directing customers to the big banks and finance companies. Their pages of links could be providing the Nobby Beach crowd quite a revenue stream. All thanks to the fact that “Lockheed’s” Starone.org did not protect their name.

 

One thing is clear: the Nobby Beach Boyz are well protected, hiding behind a phalanx of security. They are good, very good at what they do. The main server they are operating from is in Ashburn, VA, an amazon server. Under this IP server is a group of websites, including a porn site that is hosted in Nassau, Bahamas, another sex site hosted down in Dallas, Texas, a nominal “health” site with click-through ads, and a site for sale that is hosted in the UK. One of their sites is registered in Panama. This web of servers totally shields the real owners, we don’t know anything about them, and the Nobby Beach Boyz, as I originally called them, could simply be one guy. Where is he? Nassau? Nobby Beach? Panama? Houston? Living near amazon.com in Virginia? It would sure be enlightening to sit down with whoever the main bloke is, and chat about all this. I’m sure he would have some funny stories about buccaneering on the world-wide web.

 

The Brisbane Blokes also take a bite of Star One.

 

As if it wasn’t enough to throw away staronecreditunion.com, the “real” Starone.org also somehow managed to lose staronecreditunion.org. So who has this? The registration filed for the .org is also in Australia, not that far from the Gold Coast and the .com. This is in Fortitude Valley, near Brisbane. I’ll call these guys The Brisbane Blokes, another fun loving bunch of internet operators, who claim to be “The Leading Star One Credit Union Site on The Net.”  As opposed to any other “buccaneer” Star One sites!  When you visit staronecreditunion.org you see a very similar page to the dot com page:  Credit Union Savings Accounts, Star One Credit Union, Credit Union Online Banking, Loans, more and more. Clicking on the first link takes you to more links, in this case bank sites like Barclays, and some credit union sites that are listed under “sponsored listings”, which means in English that they are paid ads.

 

These blokes do have a sense of humor. One link, Starone Credit Union takes you to a page packed with links in New Jersey! So folks looking to get to the “real” Star One in Santa Clara are directed to banks, job searches, credit unions and more, about as far away from Sunnyvale as you can get. And this includes sites that offer rapid STD testing! The New Jersey page links say “ads by Google”, so it looks like the cash flow is moving here too. Are the many credit unions listed on some of these links paying for these ads? It appears so. Ironic, isn’t it, that the “real” Star One, would have to pay for an ad on a site using its original name, now owned by someone else. Big Jim is right again, always protect your name! Right now, the Brisbane Blokes are raking in a pile of dough because they were wide awake and moved fast to get a great name very cheaply from a dithering credit union. What was Star One thinking? And how does this look to someone trying to contact the “real” Star One in Sunneyvale to open an account?

 

Once again, tracking down the location of the main ISP is enlightening. The address for staronecreditunion.org is a server farm in the Bahamas. Here, we find a multitude of websites being run off one IP. Many of their other websites are for sale. They are mostly “links” sites, organized by product categories with links to other sites. A few examples:

**pajas.com – adult links, gay dating, xxxdating, etc.

**xnxy.com – adult dating links, nude girls, lesbian chat, adult online dating sites

**antervesana.com – girls hot, nude girls, hot sex, plumpes sex, sex dildos

**banat6 – arabix video, xxl video, Egypt Girl, Arabic Girls, Arab Six (Arabic for Sex?)

**freevideodownloads.com – title tells all

**hakers.com – links to spy software, password software, gold assay

**cupcakes.com – a domain name for sale, and a really good one at that! I can’t believe they have had this since Nov. 2000. Great names like this are few and far between.

 

In theory, at least, the Brisbane Blokes should be taking in a lot of money from the click-throughs. The similarity of the staronecreditunion.com and .org sites, although on different servers in the Bahamas might indicate a connection. Could the Brisbane Bloke be the same as the Nobby Beach Bloke? Or are these just some fun loving internet buccaneers who move in the same circles? There’s no telling, because they are hidden from view. They only come out of the fog briefly, just long enough to snag another good name, then retreat from sight behind walls of security.

 

The Premier America Credit Union – Another Domain Name Debacle

 

Premier America Credit Union was born out of the old 1950’s Litton Employees Federal Credit Union. This great credit union has 64,000 members and over 1 Billion in assets. It is a worthy place to put your money, as is Star One and Lockheed, and we urge you to support all these institutions with your money. If you want to strike a blow against the big banks, move your money now, then you can laugh when you see Jamie Dimon squirming in front of a Congressional Hearing. But Premier also has also felt the sting of the internet buccaneers, or maybe they haven’t noticed all the name follies going on around them for the last 12 years.

 

Premier decided to use the name premier.org for their credit union. This was in early internet days, December 18, 1995. Maybe they would have been better off keeping the name Litton, and using that with some other name that they could have connected to internet domains. From the get-go, Premier was stymied. The greatest of the names, Premier.com was taken in the dim mists of the internet beginnings, March 1, 1993. This was grabbed by Premier Pet Products, and they are still using it today, 19 years later. “Your Pets, Our Passion” say these nice folks in Drums, Pennsylvannia. So the “real” Premier took Premier.org, and figured that was all they needed. Just think about how many folks, in the last 19 years, typed in Premier.com and ended up looking at pet products instead of a credit union? We’ll never know. Whooof, whooof. Meow, meow.

 

But as the years went by, the names they left behind started to get noticed. Well, most of them. Some are still floating out there, unbelievably not attached to a bouy. I found that PremierAmericaCreditUnion.org is still available, 17 years after they created Premier.org. Also still hanging around is PremierAmerica.net. Hey, it’s a big ocean out there, even the buccaneer fleet can’t patrol everywhere. But the Internet Buccaneers did come sailing in near the shores of Fort Premier.org, scooping out the rich clam beds right in front of them.

 

Oh, You Were Looking For a Credit Union? How About a String Bikini Instead?

 

In February 2004, some fun loving bunch, hidden behind a wall of security in downtown Los Angeles, California, discovered one of Premier’s unwanted step children, this called PremierAmericaCreditUnion.com. It is certainly puzzling that even though Premier has trademarked that very name, they forgot to get the domain. No worries, it’s being put to good use in the fashion business. Hit the website and you’ll find a lot of cool links. How about a job at McDonalds? Or Walmart? Or hey, Micro Bikini See Thru and Bikini String, Sheer Bikini, Mode Fashion, Women Fashion, and more. As their slogan at the top of the site says: “What you need, when you need it.”

 

Did The Internet Buccaneers Cut Their Teeth on Premier? The Panamanians Find A Treasure Floating on the Internet Ocean.

 

I call them the Panamanians because I don’t know who “they” are. They are hiding behind the walls of Fundacion Private Whois in Panama. Back in August of 2000, while patrolling the Internet Seas, they stumbled on to a treasure chest just floating out there. Opening it up, they discovered something valuable: PremierAmerica.org. This was one of the unprotected domain names from Premier America Credit Union. This might have been the lab they used for the credit union web page template. With a slight twist.

 

When you go to PremierAmerica.org you are re-directed to Prmieramerica.com. Look at that carefully, Premier is misspelled as “Prmier” Why? Possibly because the “real” Premier America has trademarks: Premier America TM filed in August of 2001, and Premier America Credit Union TM filed in March, 2000, five months before the Panamanians snagged PremierAmerica.org. Maybe it was wiser to just use this as a holding page, and re-direct traffic to a similarly named site that is intentionally misspelled, and has a .com behind it. This site is also hosted in the Bahamas on a server farm.

 

The same brilliant website design page that is seen on all these morphing sites is here. An index page full of bank, credit union, and financial links. Click on these and you go to more links: more banks, search engines, finance and credit card sites. Go almost anywhere except where you might have intended to go in the first place. The “real” Premier America is having its potential customers directed elsewhere, all because they left their name unprotected and set adrift on the choppy, dangerous seas of the internet. All legal, you snooze and you looze, as they say on the street. If you were savvy, you could actually find Premier America Credit Union through those sites, if nothing else by using search engines that you can get to through the forest of links. But how many average folks are savvy? And so what, when you click on anything on the buccaneer’s websites, it’s “ka-ching, ka-ching” baby! They make their money on clicks, even yours. And even mine, come to think of it. How much did I put in their pockets while researching this article? Lordy, lordy…..

 

The Pompano Beach Internet Surfers Find a Treasure Chest, Too!

 

 

I’m calling them the Pompano Beach Surfers because I don’t know who they really are, so that’s as good a name as any. Imagine the surprise these boyz had, sailing and surfing the Internet Seas of the Spanish Main back in June of 2002, when they also discovered a treasure chest, just barely floating on the surface of the shallow waters. Something the Panamanians had missed on their patrol two years before. Opening the chest, they peered inside to find another unattached web site, PremierAmerica.com. You don’t have to call these guys twice to the barbeque pit. They moved into the web space and set up shop. You see the same type of design as we have seen on the others, an index page with a lot of banking and finance links to click on, and clicking on these takes you to other pages packed with links that click-through to even more links. A blizzard of links, and the clicking sounds you hear might be sending a torrent of ad revenue to the Pompano Beach Internet Surfers, wherever they are, maybe into off-shore bank accounts. Although the registration was in Pompano Beach, Florida, the hosting is a server farm in the Bahamas.

 

The Pompano Beach Surfers snagged PremierAmerica.com way back in 2002. Looking back at the name games at StarOne, we find that StarOneCreditUnion.org is fairly recent, created in April 2010 by the Brisbane Blokes. And looking even further back in archives, the Nobby Beach Boyz created StarOneCreditUnion.com back in November of 2008. So PremierAmerica.com is one of the early creations, although the “senior” treasure here, possibly used as the template, so to speak, for more recent activities, was PremierAmerica.org, created in August of 2000. A large part of this is speculation on my part, of course, because everyone involved is hiding behind walls of security around the world, and they probably aren’t eager to give any interviews.

 

So You Failed at Spelling? The Buccaneers Make Money Off That, Too!

 

You say you can’t spell? That’s OK, the internet buccaneers make money off that too! Looking through the web sites stashed on one of the Bahama I.P.s which hosts PremierAmerica.org (which re-directs you to PrmierAmerica.com, the miss-spelled web name),I stumbled across a stash of website names that were miss-spelled. This is the secret port where the Panamanians dock, in the middle of the Caribbean. Sure, we could write this off to a foreigner’s ignorance of English. The dummies can’t even spell. You would be wrong about this, though. Firstly, although the .org is registered in Panama, it doesn’t mean that these guys are Panamanians, they might be blokes from the Land of Oz. Second, the miss-spellings are a deliberate ruse to direct those of us mortals who try to type in web sites although we didn’t graduate from grammar school.

 

Take a look at some of these gems, just a few: you all know about craigslist.com, right? The site with the great job ads, personal ads, and stuff for sale, all free? Well how about cragslist.com? Or criagslist.com? Clever, eh? One of these is a re-direct, actually taking you to the real craigslist. Is this paid for? Or just a public service from the Panamanian amigos? Then there’s gmai.com for all you gmail lovers. And ansestry.com for those looking for their humble beginnings. Other things are hidden here, a hip hop stars site and porntube.com, just to mention two. So keep being a bozo when you type in that website name, the internet buccaneers are making money from your mistakes.

 

 

What Would Edgar Allan Poe Say?

 

If you go to one of my favorite sites, www.poestories.com, and look up the words “Ignes Fatui” you will find something that describes what you have just read. Poe was famous for using a lot of obscure words, and this Poe website has a dictionary of words and phrases to help you out. His expression in this case, fits perfectly the situation with the domain name games. Ignes Fatui means foolish light. This old term refers to the strange lights sometimes seen in swamps and marshes, caused when seeping methane gas self-ignites, creating flickering lights. To travelers, these lights could act as a dangerous lure, tricking them off the safe path and on to treacherous ground. As in old times, still true today. These faux credit union websites are like the strange lights in the swamp, luring the internet surfers who are looking for the path to a specific credit union site, beckoning them off the path into a swamp of links and confusing weeds, from which they may never come back to the sound road.

 

The Ultimate Question: Who Are These Guys? One Mastermind or a Gang of Fun-Loving Internet Buccaneers? The Criss-Cross of Clues.

 

I’ve asked around. Big Jim says I should contact the NSA, maybe they know who these mysterious guys are. The Brisbane Blokes, The Panamanians, the Nobby Beach Boyz, The Pompano Florida Surfers. Are they a group of fun-loving buccaneers, businessmen who may or may not know each other? Or is this entire matrix of domains shown in this article (and I may have only scratched the surface), the work of one true mastermind. A shadowy Mr. X, who travels between his digs in the Australian Gold Coast to the Bahamas to check on his server farms and maybe his off-shore accounts where the click-through ad revenue pours in? Then it’s on to the States, stop by amazon.com to look things over, then maybe scoot down to Pompano Beach or Miami for a few days of sunshine, before jetting off to the UK. As one famous radio personality, Dave Emory, says often, this is all food for thought and grounds for further investigation. One tantalizing thing did pop up though. The IP address in the Bahamas, 208.87.35.107, which houses PremierAmerica.com, is the same one for StarOneCreditUnion.org. The battery of web sites housed are the same, just one big happy family. And residing there is the old web site 40something.com that takes you to horneywife.com. Although now holding forth in Luxembourg, 40something.com is an old site, created way back in 1998 and was registered years ago by an Australian company, Fabulous.com. Could Mr. X be from the Land of Oz? A fun-loving, but hard bitten Aussie businessman like Rupert Murdoch, operating around the world in Luxembourg, Panama, Los Angeles, Pompano Beach, The Bahamas, Virginia, Brisbane and our favorite, Nobby Beach? Hiding behind walls of security and internet I.P.s world-wide, a true modern-day internet buccaneer? We may never find out.

 

These often wild internet name games at times seem not only incomprehensible, but totally incredible. I can only say that if you don’t believe me about all this, these complicated tales of the domain name games, you could ask Big Jim about it.

 

If he were talking.

 

Which he ain’t.

 

 

The Domain Name Game – Domain Buccaneers Sail the Internet Seas Looking to Grab the 2 Most Valuable Assets Your Company Has. Part 1

The Domain Name Game

Domain Buccaneers Sail the Internet Seas

Looking to Grab the 2 Most Valuable Assets Your Company Has

Part 1

What’s In A Name?

According to creditunions.com, plenty:

“We are programmed to think, organize and connect by name, starting with our own, one of the first words we learn. Names are special words that hold magic. The very best names are easy to pronounce, appealing to the ear, sticky to the memory and whenever possible, link us to an associated emotion. That means the very mention of a name should be a complete mini-selling pitch of your brand. Pretty efficient.”

A lot of thought goes into picking a name for your business. Since we have been looking at some interesting name problems that credit unions have had, especially Lockheed Federal Credit Union, this line of investigation will continue, and now delve into the shadowy world of international domain name buccaneers. Be aware that SupportCreditUnions.com is just that, an activist group supporting credit unions against the big banks. When we point out the sometimes disastrous mistakes some of the credit unions are making in the Name Game, we do so to warn of the consequences and problems that will follow.

The excellent article that we quoted from in the opening paragraph was written by Mr. John Mathes, Director of Brand Strategy at Bancography. His article goes on to list a number of things that are important to selecting a great name, in this case for a credit union. Down at the bottom of his list is probably the most important point: The name should be available as internet domain addresses.

When we look at how the Name Game has been played in the last few years by some of the biggest credit unions, it will become shockingly clear how lax attention to domain names has led to the worst case scenario for some of these organizations. Not that they are in danger necessarily of going out of business, but that they are losing a big chunk of the two most valuable things they posses:

1. The company name, in all its possibilities as domains on the internet.

2. The second most valuable asset, the customers and potential customers.

Look at it this way, imagine your credit union is a ship, a passenger liner. Your ship, with your name on it, is pulling into a major port to pick up passengers. Little known to you, a merrie band of buccaneers has stealthily boarded your ship during the night and infiltrated the crew, even placing their guys in your engine room. You dock at night in a thick fog, and in the morning, as the fog lifts, you see around you hundreds of other ships also at anchor, and they all have similar names as yours. The infiltrators then proceed to escort waiting passengers to these other ships, much to your consternation. The buccaneers have just legally taken your two most valuable assets, all the names similar to yours, and a big boodle of your customers. You’ve just been morphed, and some customers hijacked, and it’s all perfectly legal.

 

Big Jim: He Plays His Cards So Close To The Vest That You Think They Are Part of His Skin.

 

Big Jim is tall, about six foot four, a little on the thin side. He’s middle aged, sports a mustache. His sandy brown hair is thinning, so he often wears a baseball cap. In his college days he played football, usually an end or a linebacker. He had speed more than bulk. But an injury changed his life; things happen like that. Athletics took a back seat to the new computer stuff. Big Jim became a computer geek. I’ve known him for over ten years, and during that time Jim never discussed domains or names with me. About a year ago I wanted to get a domain for something, and I started asking questions. After some time it came out that Big Jim was not only a computer geek, but a domain whiz. He had been buying and selling domains since the start of the internet. He keeps it quiet, real quiet. But I listen and learn. And Big Jim knows a lot about domains.

 

Big Jim’s Mantra #1

 

Big Jim’s number one Mantra, told to me many times is simple: Protect your (business) name at all costs. Get every single extension, .com, .org, .us, .net, dot everything. Get all the possibilities that you can think of. Then think some more and get all of those. If you don’t do this you are a “freaking” idiot and you are going to get what you deserve. Big Jim uses more colorful language than that, of course, but I’ll leave it there. He says that you have to protect your trademark also with all possibilities that you can think of – Trademarks also have to be linked to domain names. That’s just how it is. End of story. If you think anything else you are dumber than a donkey.

 

When Lockheed’s Missile Boys Moved North From Burbank, They Took Their Money With Them.

 

The old Lockheed Aircraft Company was a fixture in Burbank for a long time. My dad worked their during World War II, as a technical writer. He was very proud of the fact that he wrote most of the Tech Manual on the Lockheed P-38 fighter. When the cold war got going in the early 1950’s Lockheed opened up a Missile and Space Division in Sunnyvale, Northern California. In 1957 Lockheed transferred a chunk of dough from the old credit union in Burbank to a new credit union in Sunnyvale. 1,350 accounts were more than enough to start the Lockheed Missile Employees Federal Credit Union. By 1971 they had 22,225 members, and assets of $92 million. The cold war was good for Lockheed, and it was on the verge of the boom years.

 

In 1981 Lockheed Missile Employees Federal Credit Union became LMSC Federal Credit Union. By the end of 1985 the assets were $435 million and they had ballooned to over 43,000 members. The furious pace of growth, fueled by space and military, continued. In 1995 they again changed their name, now dropping the word Lockheed, and becoming Star One Federal Credit Union. A few years later they got a state charter and dropped the “Federal”, and the official name Star One Credit Union has been in use until today. Assets claimed now are $6 billion and membership is at about 89,000 members. If you live, work, or attend school in Santa Clara County you are potentially qualified to join.

 

But as the cold war wound down a new boom came rushing in: the great tech/computer boom of Silicone Valley. With that came the internet. And everything changed. The thousands of domains became millions of domains, and 2011 saw something like 300 million domains added for a total now of over 550 million. We are full-blown in the new technological age, like it or not. Look especially at the young people under 30. Everyone is clutching smart phones. Laptops and ipads rule. Ignore all this at your peril.

 

In the old days, the executives at the big companies like Lockheed protected their name by filing a trademark. That was about it. Copyright a few things and done. But the new age came like a whirlwind, shredding old companies, birthing new products, exploding the human universe beyond the comprehension of anyone at the helm of a company in 1950 could ever imagine. The execs at the helm of Star One Federal Credit Union in 1995 were ill-prepared for what was happening. For this, they can’t totally be faulted. But by the end of the 1990s and the approaching millennium there were plenty of warning signs that things were different. Information was pouring down like raindrops in a fierce storm, and tens of thousands of people came into companies to set up computers and keep track of things, like the company’s domains. In the mid 90s the web site design business took off. What should have been a yellow brick road to company success at times became the yellow goldbricker’s road, as executives spent too much time daydreaming about their next golf game instead of learning the new technology. There were, however, a lot of people who were learning about things computer, and the domain name explosion was an attractive lure. While most of us were struggling to learn Windows 95, others were learning to play the name game. A secret tussle began, worldwide, to buy up and control the great names of businesses and products. Around that time, people like Big Jim got into it, buying up really cool names and sitting on them until a customer appeared with cash in hand, or actually auctioning the names on domain auction sites.

 

The Star One Domain Name Saga Begins.

 

In 1995, as Star One Federal Credit Union was growing like weeds, so was the search for great domain names. The obvious name for this is starone.com. The executives at the credit union missed it, and in March of 1995 this great name went to a real estate company in Ohio, where it remains until today, 17 years later. Star One Realtors would be insane to ever let that one go. Which brings us to…..

 

Big Jim’s Mantra #2

 

If you have a name with any kind of number in it, you MUST get all possibilities, including both the written number and the Arabic number. This also goes for anything that can possibly have a “dash” in the name. You get them all. If you don’t, as Big Jim says, you are insane, a total walking zombie idiot who doesn’t deserve to be called a thinking human. He actually says more things, but I can’t repeat them here.

 

Let’s take Star one. Starone.com is in the hands of a realtor in Ohio, so what about Star1.com? It’s owned by one of the domain name boys, and is advertised for sale at $10,000. If you type it into your browser, you might come up with a “holding” website, leader2leader, a tech company advertising file sharing and other web services. When you consider that Star One Credit Union is claiming assets of $6 billion, the $10,000 asking price seems like pennies. You could spend that much advertising on bus bench ads for a few months. So why don’t they buy it?

 

Maybe Star One Credit Union is fat, dumb, and happy, that’s one answer. Why buy it, they own www.starone.org. That’s enough. But in violating Big Jim’s Mantras, both of them at once for God’s sake, they open up a can of internet worms, because the domain buccaneers are wide awake, and they are looking to take your two most valued possessions and make money off them. With a big company like Star One Credit Union, when you look closely, the buccaneers are like hundreds of mosquitoes who have landed on the company’s body, sucking the booty from its treasure room, interdicting customers and re-directing them to the dreaded enemy, The Big Banks. This is the horror that is now visited on Star One, an invisible attack, ruthless, conducted by shadowy figures around the globe. And all legit. Nothing personal, as my friend Jordan Maxwell would say, it’s just business.

 

Star One Credit Union’s Old Heritage Not Even Protected. The Germans Move In.

 

So remember that back in the old days, when they were just starting out, Lockheed had changed their name to LMSC Federal Credit Union. The interesting fact is that until this day, they have not protected their old name. Why bother? That’s a tough question to answer in any sensible way. Big Jim told me simply, “Look, don’t be stupid, you protect EVERYTHING about your name, past, present, and future. You never know what sh*t can come down on your head when you least expect it. What kind of reflection on your company would it be if someone grabbed your old name and made it a porn site? How many prudes would be writing letters or wagging tongues?” When I checked this in the process of researching this article, I found that LMSCfederalcreditunion.com was available. Incredibly, since the 1995 first name change to StarOneFederalCreditUnion, the old LMSC name is still available, for $12.99. And so is the .org, .net, .biz, and many of the other dot extensions. All for chump change, really chump change, like one lunch for one exec. One name that is not available is LMSC.com. This was taken back in 1997 by some Germans who are running a string of websites in Europe, through a web server in Austria. The LMSC.com currently goes nowhere, it’s just in their war chest, for what reason nobody knows. What is known is that Lockheed Star One does NOT own it. Luckily, the German owners seem to be web designers or hosting legitimate companies. Looking at their operation, they don’t look like buccaneers, so good for now. But what about later? Things can turn on a dime.

 

Even more incredible is that Star One has failed to secure trademarks with their name. A search of the trademark sites shows that both Star One Credit Union and Star One Federal Credit Union are available. The cost of getting these filed is also miniscule: One site offers a starting filing of $159.00 for each of the names. It’s a strange situation, and I for one, am afraid to even mention this one to Big Jim. I’m just writing the story here, but the tirade would be almost unbearable.

 

End of Part 1

 

Coming in Part 2: The Nobby Beach Boyz take a bite out of Star One….The Brisbane Blokes also move in…….So You Failed in Spelling? The Buccaneers Make Money Off That, Too……Server Farms in the Bahamas……From Pompano Beach to Panama, From the Bahamas To Brisbane, The “Clicking Sound” you hear is a roar of cash and it’s going into the Buccaneer’s Treasure Chest….Star One Ravaged From All Sides…..Premier America Credit Union Also Under Assault….What Would Edgar Allan Poe Say?…..The Ultimate Question: Who Are These Guys? One Mastermind or a Crackling Gang of Buccaneers, The Crisscross of Clues.

New Book Recommends Credit Union

A new book, written chapter by chapter and posted in GypsyCool.com recommends folks pull their money out of the big banks and put it in Credit Unions. The book is called “Gypsies of the New Millennium” and is being serialized on the gypsycool.com., a website that is dedicated to people who are forced to live in their vehicles or RVs. More and more people and families are being foreclosed and have nowhere to live, creating a huge “underclass” who have been slammed by the criminal antics of the big banks. Credit Unions, on the other hand, are much safer and controlled by the local community. Very few of them got suckered in the Derivatives game

The book is here:   http://gypsycool.com/blog/?page_id=506