Goldman Sachs vs. Goldmans*x.com

Jul 21 2006 | 5:46pm ET

When online entrepreneur Rob Muller chose the name of his firm, he swears that the last thing on his mind was a prestigious investment house known as Goldman Sachs. Muller, who runs a Web site called Goldmans*x.com, was contacted by a representative of the blue chip bank about a month ago with the request that Muller stop using the URL, because his site, well, contains links to "adult" material and could cause confusion about the brand.

Muller prefers to call his site an "alternative" to using local yellow pages for finding escort services. 

In an email to FINalternatives, Muller wrote that his lawyer requested additional information about the complaint, but never heard a thing until a 500-page "novel" arrived on his desk. The tome contains a complaint from Goldman Sachs —which has been filed with The National Arbitration Forum —stating that the domain name goldmans*x.com would confuse people about the brand. A spokesman from Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Below are a few excerpts from the email Muller sent responding to FINalternatives questions:

FINalternatives: Do you think the lawsuit has any merit?

Muller: Goldmans*x is a complete different business than Goldman Sachs and the Web sites are very different. I cannot imagine that a Goldman Sachs client misspells the domain name and replaces Sachs by s*x. Besides, that I cannot imagine that their clients would really think my Web site is a new product line of Goldman Sachs. If that is the case, they really should start a corporate branding campaign.

FINalternatives: What happens if they win and you are forced to change the name?

Muller: In that case, I think I will appeal. I also will invite Goldman Sachs to invest in my company as a promising startup and finance the appeal from their funding.

FINalternatives: What did you do before launching this site?

Muller: I traded in speedboats. I also wrote a top 40 pop song, which was a small hit in Germany.


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