Riot Games looks to be expanding its online presence. This week already the game studio registered the name ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com, but that’s not all. Riot has bought up even more domains, this time names centered around “league” and “esports”, like LeagueeSports.com (WHOIS) and LoLeSport.com (WHOIS).
Although it’s only speculation, I think we might see a web site and a level of professional programming from Riot Games, that you see with the likes of “ESPN”.
It’s not too far fetched an idea. With Major League Gaming taking off, why not?
While the company may have nothing in store beyond protecting its IP, with a record 2012 and Season Three just beginning, I think many would agree that 2013 is shaping up to be the biggest year for League of Legends and eSports.
In its newest batch of registrations through the brand protection MarkMonitor, Riot picked up: league-esports.com (WHOIS), leagueesports.com (WHOIS), lol-esports.com (WHOIS), and lolesport.com (WHOIS).
It is just speculation at this stage though, as none of the newest registrations resolve to a web site.
In August 2012, Riot Games announced The League of Legends Championship Series, a global league of the top professional, salaried teams that features multiple matches per week and playoff events leading up to the World Championship.
As players begin to battle for spots in the League of Legends Championship Series during Season Three, Riot has went and registered the domain name ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com (WHOIS) through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor.
Could Riot be planning to launch a new website that provides online coverage of the Championship Series?
It’s too early to tell. For now, the domain name doesn’t resolve to a web page, but given the massive popularity of League of Legends and its thriving community, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Another possible sign that Riot may do more with the name than just park it, is that, unlike most companies that buy up dozens, sometimes hundreds of domain names to help protect their brand, Riot Games has gone a different route, selectively acquiring a limited number of domain names over the years.
According to a rough estimate using Reverse Whois, Riot only owns about 100 domains.
The company’s last major buying spree came in April 2012, when it secretly registered a slew of domain names for the top secret project Supremacy. Riot has also acquired names by filing complaints with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which led to the company taking down porn and scam sites like support-leagueoflegends.com, LeagueofLegends.co, and LeagueofLegendsPorn.com.
If you’re not familiar with the League of Legends Championship Series, here’s a recap:
The League of Legends Championship Series: the top eight teams from the US and EU, plus top teams from the Asian regions
The top three teams from Gamescom and PAX immediately qualify
Weekly regional pro League of Legends matches live, for free, in HD
Millions of dollars at stake
Regular season, regional playoffs and a spectacular World Championship
Critical Challenger Circuit events featuring up-and-coming teams vying for a shot at the League of Legends Championship Series
Whether Riot launches a new online website for Season Three and beyond, is all just speculation at this point.
We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can keep checking the website ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com to see if anything goes online.
Sometime in the mid-2000s, the domain name Project425.com was privately registered through the registrar Melbourne IT. The organization behind the registration was unknown until November 2008, when the Whois record showed Riot Games President Marc Merrill as the name’s owner.
Merrill continued to renew the domain name each year, but this past week it underwent some changes, most notably it transferred to the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor and instead of being renewed on an annual basis, the name was renewed through March 2015.
And as you can see from the Whois record, Riot Games is the outright owner.
So, what exactly is “Project 425”?
Right now, I don’t know anything about the project, because the secret of “Project 425” is hidden behind a password-protected website. Currently, when you go to the web address http://project425.com, you’re asked for a username and password.
A senior League of Legends community member pointed out late last year, that Riot Games owns several random domains including names like onslaughtgame.net (Whois) and InstituteofWar.org (Whois).
However, unlike Project425.com which actually is some type of website, the other domain names either don’t resolve to a web page or are parked at a registrar like Go Daddy and display ads.
It’s no secret that Riot Games is working on other projects, but what’s in store will likely remain unknown up until its launch.
The idea of launching a fantasy league for online battle arena game “League of Legends” has been the subject of many forum messages on LeagueofLegends.com, so the idea is nothing new.
But now it looks like a fantasy league is being developed by ZAM Network, a Tencent owned company that operates a number of gaming and addon sites like Wowhead, LolKing and D3DB.
According to WHOIS records, on November 1, 2012, ZAM Network registered the domain names LeagueofLegendsFantasy.com (WHOIS), LeagueofLegendsFantasy.net (WHOIS), LeagueofLegendsFantasyLeague.com (WHOIS), and LeagueofLegendsFantasyLeague.net (WHOIS).
ZAM didn’t stop there. It also registered LoLFantasyLeague.com (WHOIS) and LoLFantasyLeague.net (WHOIS).
Here’s a look at the WHOIS record for LeagueofLegendsFantasyLeague.com:
Tencent, which also has a majority stake in Riot Games, acquired ZAM earlier this year. Because ZAM is being backed by one of the largest internet companies, you can bet they will have the budget and resources to successfully run a fantasy league.
As of right now, ZAM hasn’t made any official announcement. Nor do any of the domain names direct visitors to a gaming site.
At the time of this story being published, each of the names sends visitors to a parked web page at Go Daddy, where they were registered.
In May 2012, ZAM acquired LoLKing, an online summoner database that boasts over 50,000 users per month according to a rough traffic estimate by Compete.
I’ve reached out to ZAM for more information about the ‘League of Legends Fantasy League’, and will update this post if I hear back.
In late September, a decision was handed down by the World Intellectual Property Organization in a domain complaint brought by Riot Games against the owner of LeagueofLegendsPorn.com.
As reported earlier in the week, the ruling went in favor of Riot Games (the complainant), and as a result, Florida man Michael Brown (the respondent) was ordered by a single-member panel to transfer the name.
Now details of the WIPO decision have been published online, including an exchange between both parties in which Brown asked for a “transfer” fee of USD 200,000.00.
When Brown first responded to the complaint, he stated he had no intentions of doing anything with www.leagueoflegendsporn.com and that he had “forgot” that he had registered the name. He even said he would gladly hand it over, but when it came time to transfer the name, he wanted a huge cash payout.
Here’s a look at the details of the “back and forth” that Riot Games contends took place, as provided by WIPO:
In February 2012, Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
On or about February 21, 2012, Complainant became aware that Respondent had registered the disputed domain name, which fully incorporates Complainant’s LEAGUE OF LEGENDS mark.
The website associated with the disputed domain name does not host or display any content or provide any services to the public. Instead, it consists of a graphic with the words “Future home of something quite cool” and an invitation for visitors to “please check back soon.”
Upon learning of Respondent’s registration, on March 14,2012, Complainant sent a letter to Respondent. The letter demanded that Respondent immediately discontinue use of the disputed domain name and Complainant’s LEAGUE OF LEGENDS mark, or any variation thereof, and requested that Respondent transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant.
On March 19, 2012, Respondent responded to Complainant, stating that he has “no intentions of doing anything with www.leagueoflegendsporn.com” and that he had “forgot” that he had registered the disputed domain name. Respondent assured Complainant that “the domain name will not be used nor will I use the League of Legends name in any way.” Respondent added that if Complainant needed the disputed domain name, he “will gladly hand it over” and asked for instructions on how to transfer it.
Complainant responded on the same date requiring the transfer of the disputed domain name, and providing instructions on how to do so.
On March 20, 2012, Respondent sent an email Complainant inquiring about “financial compensation” that he would be offered for complying with Complainant’s request.
Complainant responded on April 30, 2012, offering to reimburse Respondent for the cost of registering the disputed domain name.
On May 14, 2012, Respondent rejected the offer stating that it is “simply not enough… the traffic that can be drawn to this website with the millions of league fans is worth too much” and asked for a “significant offer” for the disputed domain name.
On May 16, 2012, Complainant offered to pay USD 250.00 for the disputed domain name in the interests of avoiding legal expenses and time. The next day, Respondent rejected the offer, stating that the website “is predicted to bring in an unrivaled amount of traffic and will be highly competitive in search engines” and asked for a “transfer” fee of USD 200,000.00 based on his “traffic estimates.”
Full details of the leagueoflegendsporn.com decision can be found online at WIPO.
As of today, the name is still registered to Brown according to Whois records.
(Image of Season One Championship via LeagueofLegends.com)