Cybercafe domain war a storm in a coffee cup
25 June 1999
It was five years ago today... Easy empire supremo Stelios Haji-Ioannou has in the past been described as "colourful". How you choose to interpret this description depends on your view of his operating style:
By Tim Richardson
Published Friday 25th June 1999 11:13 GMT
An uneasy truce has broken out in the coffee shop cybersquatting war. On Monday, easyJet entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou opened his 500-PC, Nescafe-serving easyEverything cybercafe in London - the first in a chain of "Internet stores."
While Haji-Ioannou possessed the all-important easyeverything.com domain, he didn't own easyeverything.co.uk. That was registered by the UK Net company Easynet in December last year, apparently for a customer. Coincidentally, the Cyberia chain of cybercafes was once part of the Easynet Group and still supplies the technology. easyEverything maintains that since it owns the trademark it holds the rights to the domain although no one was prepared to go as far as to say if this a deliberate case of cybersquatting or not.
Earlier this week, though, Haji-Iaonnou made his feelings very clear when he said that he wanted easyeverything.co.uk. "We want to keep this civilised," he told The Times. "But if they don't give us that address we may have to start legal proceedings."
Today, easyEverything's marketing director Tony Anderson wasn't quite so forthright. "We're still confident we'll resolve this amicably," he said. Graham Davies, MD for the Easynet Group said that he had seen an email on the subject but had received no other communication on the matter. A bemused Davies said: "If they want it, they only have to ask. I don't know why they didn't come to us beforehand." Quite - a veritable storm in coffee cup.
Well, since easyeverything.co.uk is now registered to easyGroup IP Licensing Ltd and links to Stelios' easyInternetcafé, it's clear that this particular spat was resolved.
During the past few years Haji-Ioannou has made frequent appearences on El Reg, variously waving the legal big stick at anyone with the temerity to use the word "easy" in a domain name; starting a punch-up with AOL by exhorting its customers to tear up their accounts and use his cybercafes instead; meeting his match in Easyart.com; and finally throwing in the e-towel with the recent announcement that he would sell or close his UK cybercafes.
Colourful? In the sense of newsworthy, most certainly. ®