Ryanair has taken control of the IHateRyanair.co.uk website that is dedicated to documenting bad travel experiences of passengers on the budget airline.
Robert Tyler, the website’s creator, was forced by Nominet, the UK’s domain name registration and dispute service, to hand over control of the domain, because he earned money on it from the travel advertisements of other companies.
From January to May 2010, Tyler earned £322 from advertisements for other companies’ products, including travel insurance and currency exchange services.
On the IHateRyanair.co.uk site, a number of the stories begin by describing Ryanair as the “world’s most hated airline”.
Ryanair took Tyler to Nominet, which ruled that he had broken regulations by using the Ryanair brand to make money.
“It is the very nature of a criticism website that discussion should be open and not influenced by commercial concerns,” adjudicator Jane Seager noted in her judgement, reported in the Daily Mail. “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.”
Tyler “only earned money because of the traffic to the website, and such traffic must have been influenced by the domain name”, Seager ruled. “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.”
The airline said in a statement: "We note and welcome this ruling and hope in future that this person will confine himself to fact-based criticism of Ryanair, the world's favourite international airline with over 73.5 million passengers this year."
Tyler, from London, said he will continue the site at a new web address, ihateryanair.org.
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