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Top 10 Stories of 2011: #2 Activision battles for domain

Modern Warfare 3

Activision won rights to the domain in early September, bringing a saga that dragged on for months to a close.

My coverage of the whole affair from beginning to end drew thousands of thousands of page views, along with mentions from nearly every major video gaming news site and blog.

It was Activision’s decision to file a domain dispute over that earned the number two spot in the Top 10 stories of 2011.

The coverage began in January 2011, when I wrote about Activision missing out on several Modern Warfare domain names, including 

In May, information and dates were leaked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to Kotaku

Shortly after the online buzz started, the owner of put up a website and literally gained thousands of fans on Facebook overnight.  Then the website abruptly went offline for days, in what appeared to be a response by the owner to Activision’s lawyers. 

When the site came back online however, the same owner launched a revamped website that lashed out at Activision, in a series of statements and videos, throwing support instead to Call of Duty’s biggest competitor – Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3.

Still, at this point, no one else was covering it.

It was my story on re-directing to EA’s Battlefield 3 website in July that started drawing attention by sites like Kotaku.  The move to forward the domain proved embarrassing for Activision.

What followed were a series of breaking stories that continued to draw massive traffic.

In mid July, Activision officially filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum that I got my hands on. 

After the complaint was filed, Go Daddy removed the privacy service on the domain, revealing the identity of the owner.

In September, Activision triumphed and the domain was ordered transferred.

By October, the domain resolved to

If Activision decides to release a Modern Warfare 4, it may want to handle things a little differently.  As of today, doesn’t belong to Activision.

News Trademarks Video Games

Activision misses out on Modern Warfare domain names, still hostage

Modern Warfare 3 Ghost

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the next Call of Duty game title. 

It is being rumored that Activision will be releasing its next title in November 2011, and there are plenty of gaming blogs and news sites thinking it will be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, focused on a character named “Ghost” who appeared in Modern Warfare 2.

With all the buzz swirling around, I thought it would be interesting to see what memorable Modern Warfare domain names Activision owns.   

Surprisingly, what I found is that Activision doesn’t own many.

Modern Warfare isn’t owned by Activision.  The domain is registered to Goran Blagus and sits parked.  According to a rough estimate by Compete, the domain receives anywhere from several hundred to several thousand unique visitors per month.

On Friday, October 15, 2010, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed by Activision for MODERN WARFARE, as reported by Trademarkia.  

Modern Warfare 2 is actually owned by Activision – and it’s not surprisng that the company somehow got its hands on this name considering Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best-selling games of all-time.

Modern Warfare 3

Activision wasn’t so lucky with  What could possibly be another record-breaking title, isn’t owned by the company.  A disclaimer at the bottom of the page reads, “Modern Warfare 3 .com is a 100% unofficial fan site dedicated to the Modern Warfare series.”

Modern Warfare 4 is one of the most interesting domain registrations by far.  It’s yet another domain not owned by Activision, but in this case, the owners made news headlines when they threatened to hurt a clown if the game development studio behind Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, didn’t play ball with their demands.

A message at the top of the site reads:

Welcome to the Website. It would appear that Infinity Ward forgot to purchase this domain. No worries – We have good care of it.

There has been huge amounts of controversy about our actions. We won’t go into details here, (but to read part the story, click here, then google for any more..) – what we will say, is that the domain was purchased by the UK based gaming community ZiiP. We have been wondering what to do with it for a while now.. threatening to hurt this clown that you see unless IW played ball…

Sadly, it would seem IW don’t like clowns. They appear not to like PC Gamers either, as we were (like scores of others) extremely disappointed by there lack of dedicated server in the release of Modern Warfare 2.

We are not bad people. Therefore, we have decided to compromise on our previous demands of fast cars and cheap hookers in exchange for the domain. Instead, we would like IW to implement dedicated servers into MW2 for the good of the PC gaming community. We don’t want It wasn’t asked for. and are both registered at the time of this story.  

You won’t find any available domain registrations until you reach  However, chances are good Activision won’t ever get to 5, 6, 7, or whatever – given that its Infinity Ward game studio is in shambles and it’s rumored that a futuristic Call of Duty could be the focus of its next series.