An unhappy passenger who launched his own website ihateryanair.co.uk, dedicated to slamming Ryanair, has been ordered to hand over the domain name to the airline itself after the site proved so popular it started to make him money.
Robert Tyler, of Walthamstow, north-east London, established the website in February 2007 to publish “horror stories” about the budget airline, which he describes at the beginning of every article on the site as “the world’s most hated airline”.
Between January and May 2010 the site displayed various commercial links to third party websites advertising foreign currency and insurance, which earned My Tyler £322.
Ryanair took Mr Tyler to a domain name tribunal complaining that the site took unfair advantage of the Ryanair name for commercial gain which was damaging to its rights.
Britain’s internet domain name dispute resolution service, Nominet, ruled in favour of Ryanair, saying that Mr Tyler had breached rules by using the brand to make money and instructed him to forfeit the domain name.
Adjudicator Jane Seager said in her ruling: “It is the very nature of a criticism website that discussion should be open and not influenced by commercial concerns.
“Thus, whilst the links to other airlines may be seen as genuine recommendations as part of an ongoing discussion about air travel, commercial links cannot.
“There is undoubtedly a link between the respondent’s financial advantage and the respondent’s use of the complaint’s trade mark in the domain name. The respondent only earned money because of the traffic to the website, and such traffic must have been influenced by the domain name.
“It cannot be fair to take advantage of the reputation attached to another party’s trade mark in this manner, whether it be good or bad.
Despite the decision, Mr Tyler has remained loyal to his cause and has since moved the site to a new address.
In an update posted to the site yesterday, it read: “Unfortunately, Lyingair won the dispute on a small technicality concerning £322 generated through affiliate deals. But never fear, we have already moved the site to it’s new home on www.ihateryanair.org and will continue to provide you with all the latest on how this pathetic excuse for an airline will attempt to extract cash from you through sneaky hidden charges, fly you to places that are not where you actually want to go and leave you stranded when the —- hits the fan.”
At the end of his rant, he wrote: “We’re off to spend the £322 on booze to celebrate!”
An excellent rival for outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary, if Mr Tyler shows as much dedication in all other aspects of his life, I’m sure he’ll go very far!