If I could predict the actions of a first-time rookie webmaster trying to launch a new website; he would first turn to Google and search if the domain name he wishes to use is still available. He would run a Google search hoping not to get SERP with a site with similar domain name, as the one he intends to use.
That being said, it is rather bizarre that Google would start a holding company whose name it cannot use as a domain name or open social media accounts for that matter. Judging from the surface, such an oversight is not something you would expect from the world’s (if not universe’s) most widely used search engine. They could have at the very least, Googled the name Alphabet first before settling for it.
So Google’s parent company Alphabet has a domain name that is not alphabet.com. Instead, it is abc.xyz. Maybe they were trying to be cute with the domain name, I don’t know. But one thing is for sure! BMW the owner of alphabet.com domain name is neither going to hand over nor sell that domain name to Alphabet.
Like most people, I didn’t know such a website existed before. Let alone the fact it is a website for BMW fleet management services. Like any marketer would do, BMW has really capitalized on the all-of-a-sudden fame and traffic to its website. BMW is not even shy or subtle about the fact it is exploiting this opportunity of free, sudden, high traffic, and publicity its fleet management site currently enjoys.
In the last 24 hours, BMW has taken activities at alphabet.com a notch higher; more like maximum basking in the unexpected sunshine in the middle of a cold winter. In what almost seems like mocking Google’s Alphabet, BMW is using the tagline: Because Alphabet is more than a name to us, to run a marketing campaign on why Alphabet is not just another name. The car maker has outlined the A to Z reasons as to why Alphabet:
Google is a by all rights a well-respected tech giant. However, naming your holding company a name whose obvious digital properties like the domain name and social media accounts you cannot use is rather bizarre. Won’t you agree? Sure, abc.xyz sounds cute, if your intention was to be cute. But it is undoubtedly confusing to Internet users who would naturally assume alphabet.com to be the right website for Google’s Alphabet.
From a trademark point of view, it is said BMW cannot be compelled by trademark laws to relinquish alphabet.com. There can only be grounds for such a move if Google’s Alphabet starts another car manufacturing company using the name Alphabet (wait, doesn’t ‘Alphabet/former-Google’ have a division for making self-driving cars?). It is then and only then, could the company challenge BMW over alphabet.com domain name using trademark arguments.