‘Swingers’ sites feud settled by arbitrators

Couple-swapping website had accused competitors of taking related domain names.

Arbitrators have thrown out a petition by the owner of an online Hebrew “swingers” website who accused a competing site of unfairly taking domain names associated with his company and directing visitors exclusively to that site.
The sites in question receive thousands of visits a day from Israelis interested in couple-swapping and other forms of alternative, non-kosher coupling.
The IL-DRP, which handles domain name disputes, was contacted by the owner of swingers.co.il last month in order to transfer the registration of two domain names owned by zigzug.co.il to him.
Until recently, both of the domain names had been registered to the owner of swingers.co.il but had gone back on the market after he failed to renew their registration.
As a result, the owners of Zigzug swooped in and snapped up the two domain names, creating a threesome of URLs leading to the same site.
Arbitrators who reviewed the petition dismissed it, ruling that the term “swingers” is widely used among sites catering to the swingers community and that the term has no “secondary meaning” linking them specifically to the petitioner.
The owner of swingers.co.il had argued in the petition that the name “swingers” was very well known in the couple-swapping community, and that Zigzug, acting in poor faith, had used the names “swinger” and “swingersparty” solely because they so closely resemble “swingers.”
In recent years, Israel’s thriving swingers community has grown more and more popular due to the discretion and convenience of the Internet.
Online forums have found no shortage of viewers who, in years past, might not have braved the underground private parties and clubs where such activities were for the most part confined.
No website has benefited more than Zigzug, the numberone swingers website in Israel, ranked by Alexa as the 1,022nd most-visited site in Israel.
Swingers.co.il was ranked the 10,420th most-visited site in Israel.
Attorney Dan Or-Hof, who represented the company that manages Zigzug – which did not wish to be named in this article – said his client is well known as the leading manager of dating sites in Israel, including Zigzug, which he argued is famous as the top site for Israel’s couple-swapping community.
Or-Hof also argued that the names of the sites are associated with very well-known descriptive terms that cannot be attributed to the petitioner.