A website set up to criticise Ryanair has been shut down by an internet censor on a technicality about earning the owner a small sum of money.
The founder of IHateRyanair.co.uk – whose strapline was The World’s Most Hated Airline – was forced to surrender the web address after the budget carrier complained to the domain name dispute resolution service.
The UK internet domain controller Nominet, ruled that the stinging criticism and passenger horror stories published on the site were not sufficient grounds for it to be scrapped. I Hate Ryanair website …HOWEVER… it ruled that a small profit made by Robert Tyler from sponsored links on the site meant he abused domain name rules.
Disgruntled passengers’ comments have filled the pages of the website since it was set up three years ago by Tyler.
Ryanair complained that the site took unfair advantage of the brand’s name and claimed it hosted damaging and defamatory articles including false comments about its safety, maintenance and operating standards.
It featured free links to rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic under the heading Sites we like. From January to May 2010 it also displayed commercial links to third party sites offering travel insurance and foreign currency, which earned Tyler a £322 profit.
Tyler argued that while Ryanair has some goodwill and reputation in legal terms, it has also built up substantial dissatisfaction over its services. It has become synonymous with trying to obtain maximum money from customers using unappealing revenue generating techniques, he added.
Nominet Adjudicator Jane Seager claimed the links to third party websites that earned Tyler money were problematic. [He] only earned money because of the traffic to the website, and such traffic must have been influenced by the domain name.
Tyler had effectively taken unfair advantage of Ryanair’s rights in order to gain a financial advantage and therefore should forfeit the domain name, she said.
The website has now found a new home at http://www.IHateRyanair.org