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Nominet bins Optical Express' appeal against 'It ruined my life' website

Campaigner hopes to get MPs to regulate laser eye market

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Optical Express has failed to silence an outspoken critic of the High Street optician, after Nominet chucked out an appeal against the owner of a website that attacks the company's laser eye surgery business.

The unsuccessful action taken by DCM (Optical holdings) Ltd, which owns Optical Express, is the latest in a series of rebuffs from Nominet against the store.

On 31 March, the dot-UK registry company confirmed in yet another Dispute Resolution Service decision that "no exceptional grounds" could be found to consider whether Sasha Rodoy, who runs the opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk site, was abusing her domain registration.

Nominet noted in its decision (PDF) that Glasgow-based Optical Express had presented its case against Rodoy poorly, not least for the reams of paperwork it had submitted to the panel.

"[T]he cost to the complainant of putting this complaint together must have been eye-wateringly high in time alone," Nominet said.

It comes after Nominet ruled in January this year that there were insufficient grounds for a rehearing of the case against campaigner Rodoy, who wants to see more regulation brought in to oversee the corrective eye surgery industry in the UK.

The optician had tried at the time to convince the dot-UK registry that a case should be heard based on allegations that there was "circumstantial evidence regarding the registration and use of the Domain Name, suggesting that the site was set up and funded by a competitor of the complainant, Optimax." But its gripe was rejected.

As The Register reported in January, the firm had claimed that the opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk site was secretly operating as an "advertorial" for its rival.

That allegation has now been repeatedly dismissed by Nominet.

At the start of this year, Optical Express had claimed to Nominet that the comments posted on Rodoy's website had caused "significant and unfair disruption to its business" and amounted to a personal vendetta against the optician.

However, Rodoy successfully disputed the complaint, saying she had legitimate non-commercial use and fair use of the domain name in question.

In 2011, Rodoy claimed her own eyesight had been affected by surgery at Optimax. She had owned optimaxruinedmylife.co.uk, before reaching an undisclosed settlement with Optimax, and later set up the Optical Express version after hearing from angry customers of that company.

Rodoy said of the Nominet victory: "I’ve proven that with truth and determination an individual can take on a massive industry and win."

Optical Express told El Reg:

We are extremely disappointed and surprised by the decision of the Nominet Dispute Resolution Service appeal panel as we believe we had a very strong case. We are now actively considering our options with regard to pursuing our challenge via other avenues.

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