Home > Everything Else > IHG – Not happy bunnies…

IHG – Not happy bunnies…

September 7th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Just had a lovely letter from those folk in Atlanta (to read the full version click on the post) who aren’t very happy about the use of “Priority Club” in the domain name.

I can’t really argue with the fact that it may “creates confusion by suggesting IHG’s sponsorship or endorsement of your website” as I get a numerous emails from folk wanting me to credit points for their stay in <insert hotel name here> due to their questionable IT system and raft of unclear rules of when you do/do not get points for a stay. But I do disagree with “Continued use of the Domain Name will cause loss of goodwill to IHG” - I think the site does the opposite.

What seems odd is that…

  • It’s taken this long for them to get around to it ( 2 1/2 years) - and it’s not like this is a new initiative as I know of another site that received this letter last year and the person on the other end of this letter (name withheld)  has been working for IHG since 2000 – so must have been aware of the site for at least 18 months?
  • I  promote IHG promotions which helps drive customers to their hotel = more revenue
  • There is no loss in revenue to IHG as any links that I create in my posts to IHG do not earn me, and therefore cost them, any commission.

I guess I’m just out of favour this month – or it’s the lack of recent updates (sorry)….

Anyway, I don’t really fancy a legal battle so it’s time to rename the site – suggestions welcome – although I think IHGinsider.com is out (even though it’s available)

 

05-Sep-2012

Re:       Registration of  “priorityclubinsider.com” as a Domain Name

Dear Domain Registrant,

InterContinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) is a global hotel company which owns, leases, manages or franchises over 4500 hotels in over 100 countries and territories.  Together with its subsidiaries, including Six Continents Hotels, Inc. (“SCH”), IHG owns nine hotel brands as well as numerous other trademarks, including the “” (“Brand Trademarks”).  IHG has widespread and continuous use of the Brand Trademarks and has acquired extensive goodwill with respect to those marks.   SCH has registered the Brand Trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other trademark offices worldwide.

It has come to IHG’s attention that you have registered and are using, without our permission or authorization, the domain name “priorityclubinsider.com”  (“Domain Name”).  The Domain Name incorporates Brand Trademarks and misleads customers and creates confusion by suggesting IHG’s sponsorship or endorsement of your website.  Continued use of the Domain Name will cause loss of goodwill to IHG, and is a violation of trademark and unfair competition laws.

The Brand Trademarks and our favorable reputation are extremely important to us.  Thus, it is essential that we take steps to prevent any trademark infringement in the marketplace.  We are therefore requesting that you immediately stop using any and all domain names using the Brand Trademarks, transfer the existing Domain Names to us, and refrain from creating any new domain names using the Brand Trademarks in any manner.

Please contact (name kindly removed) at 770-604-xxxx to facilitate the transfer.

 

 

 

 

 

IHG Legal

 

legal@iplegal-standards.ihg.com

Categories: Everything Else Tags:
  1. Bob
    September 12th, 2012 at 06:54 | #1

    You know….If everyone that was a member of The Priority Club were offered the same promotions I personally would not come to this site often. I have been a platinum member for several years and it seems like the longer I have been platinum the fewer bonus offers I have been receiving. There should be some sort of law against “target marketing” that offers lesser members better deals to get them to a higher status and not offering the same deals to the proven loyal customers……..I appreciate you having this web site and I will continue to visit often….THANKS…..

  2. PriusKing
    September 12th, 2012 at 07:45 | #2

    Please ensure that you let me know of any new address that you choose to use,I cannot believe these guys as you have been a fantastic advert for there brands and you have certainly helped me to build up my points.I am a platinum member and have been for about 7 years I really appreciate the info that you have posted in the past and I hope that you will continue to do so.
    The points are becoming harder to amass so maybe I should also be taking a look at Hilton?

  3. RB
    September 12th, 2012 at 09:06 | #3

    Put me down as another supporter!

    Excellent job and SERVICE that you have provided – which has definitely kept me onboard as a Priorty Club ‘user’.

    Happy to help in anyway that I can to stop this ludicrous action (by IHG) from going any further.

    Stick to your guns!

  4. Rusty
    September 12th, 2012 at 09:52 | #4

    So silly by IHG. Elsewhere, this kind of traffic would be called “affiliated links” and they’d pay a fortune for it, rather than try and interrupt it!

    Can you speak to them about becoming an IHG affiliate, as part of negotiations on the name? That’d help pay for your site and would allow you to retain your core proposition.

  5. fanfan
    September 12th, 2012 at 10:02 | #5

    I am a great supporter and I love this website. Thanks to your excellent website, we are staying all the time in IHG hotels, it is the best way to know about rates and promotions. We want this website to stay forever. IHG has to thank you and surely pay you, because thanks to you, all PC members are faithful to the group.

  6. Mike B
    September 12th, 2012 at 14:50 | #6

    I have to say that if not for your site, I’d not have heard of 1/50th of what was going on at IHG or with priority points; it was your site, in fact, that pushed me to aim for Platinum status, and with your help, advice and pointers… I got there with much less effort than had I NOT known about it. Perhaps that’s why they don’t want you around anymore…..you’re too helpful and you point people in the right direction.

    My suggestion for a domain name: priorityinsider.com

    All the best….whatever you rename it to, they can’t stop you publishing the info, so I look forward to seeing you in your new incarnation.

    Best wishes,

    Mike

  7. marcela
    September 12th, 2012 at 15:47 | #7

    Really sorry to here this!! Bad idea on behalf of IHG… but on the good side you have a lot of supporters who will follow you wherever you will post!

  8. Brent
    September 12th, 2012 at 15:59 | #8

    Interesting how they complained about your site being called “Priority Club Insider” (two words), where the name of their actual club is PriorityClub (one word). A search of one won’t even turn up the other — at least not as one of the first few returns, since they are two seaparate spellings. Oh well…I enjoy your blog and will follow you to whatever website you end up using. Thanks for all of your insider secrets thus far.

  9. Vern Kaye
    September 12th, 2012 at 21:24 | #9

    Why not just try something like, HotelInsider.com, or Hotel’sInsider.com, or just InsiderHotels.com, make it general and keep the ideas coming on PC., or PCInsider.com, then come up with a bunch of stories how the IHG, is cutting their own business by picking on some little guy who was sending them Millions of dollars worth of business (and they cut his throat.

    Another thought. You have a registered domain name. There must be a good lawyer, who uses this site. Advertise on the site for any legal minds to make suggestions. You may just get a few million for the name. Then IHG, can buy your name and eliminate much confusion (if they think it makes a difference). You might also get a good marketing lawyer to write them and see if they won’t hire you to continue the site under their umbrella. They might give you free rooms all over the world as payment.

    A few thoughts, but don’t give up so easily. Don’t give up the name. Any legal minds should chime in now to help you. This is a very valuable site for us who travel. I was diamond with Hilton, Gold with SPD, and am now Platinum with IHG. This is at the expense of Hilton and SPG. So there you are. A sure winner is IHG, and they are trying to cut you off at the knees. Again, just don’t answer.

    I just received a stay 12 nights, get 10,000 points promo. Last quarter it was 7 nights for 10K. I am waiting to hear about other offers before clicking on and getting their first offer. There you go. Helping people level the playing field, by letting the consumer know that they are being targeted and offered something that is over their head. You stay 11 nights and get nothing. Soon IHG, will become on my back burner. Maybe they will even cancel the 5K points offers. Then I am gone for sure.
    All the best.
    VK

  10. Vern
    September 12th, 2012 at 21:46 | #10

    Don’t give up.

  11. Vern
    September 12th, 2012 at 22:13 | #11

    This is their lawyer’s statement: Continued use of the Domain Name will cause loss of goodwill to IHG, and is a violation of trademark and unfair competition laws.

    My answer to their lawyer. Continued use of the Domanin Name will not cause a loss of business, or goodwill to IHG. Thousands of their customers use their hotels because of this domain name, and the opposite is true. Without the use of this site (and this domain name); IHG will surely loose millions of dollars from those of us who try to stretch as much out of our travel budgets as possible. Further, violation of a trademark is not clear, since IHG does not own the domain. It is only part of a their name and it’s 2 words, not one as PriorityClub.
    Unfair competion laws certainly do not apply, since this site does not compete with IHG, but helps bring thousands of people to it’s open doors daily. This is indeed a company that doesn’t know on which side of the bread to apply the butter.

    Maybe the executives of IHG, and us shareholders should have a meeting, and discuss how we can shut down a few thousand hotels in the near future; as small things like this sometimes turn out to ruin a company.

    IHG executives. Wake up and smell the strong over heated coffee at HIX. Better yet smell the rooms, which are even stronger at some of your Candlewood Suites; or maybe take a close look at the your Crown Plaza in Iowa City, Iowa. Then pay your asking prices, and if you don’t have cockroaches after these stays, then go home and try to pick up a few points of your own; since you surely shouldn’t have a job in the hospitality business.

    As a prior IHG employee, you could travel around and become an advisor to IHG on how to improve their hotels.

    Some people just don’t know when they are cutting off a very valuable part of their existence.

    The lawyer who wrote this letter, should go to Syracuse, New York; and help the franchisee get a sign, so the guests don’t keep driving around circles trying to find the hotel, which has now a new brand, with of GPS, taking guests to their old site, which is now another brand. Or he should go to the Crown plaza in south Hartford, Connecticut; and help the janitor replace the ceiling tiles while the guests duck the dirt and dust falling from the ceiling, as the rain pours onto the guests, as they arrive. Wow, this lawyer just can’t find something else to do? There is plenty for him to do, to save IHG from being sued by it’s understanding guests, but writing Priority Club Insider, a love letter is just too much of a hint what is going on in the executive suite at IHG.
    My stock holdings will be cut down considerably, tomorrow morning.
    Good Night.

  12. Platinum Amb
    September 12th, 2012 at 22:50 | #12

    This is horrible…. I basically live at IHG and I can’t believe this crap… Take away promotions from being my main motivation on staying at your hotel and I’ll take my Platinum Ambassador status to someone else that does want their customers.

  13. Ron
    September 13th, 2012 at 02:19 | #13

    I have sent my details and confirmed my disapointment with the heavy handed approach ING are trying to take with this.
    I wouls suggest that anyone who want to does the same maybe then they will support this site any hopefuly give it the credit it is due.
    I have included the link to send you thoughts please.
    https://secure.priorityclub.com/rewards/us/en/customer-care/

  14. Topsy
    September 13th, 2012 at 04:19 | #14

    I rarely used IHG hotels before discovering your site earlier this year. Since then I have chalked up 10 qualifying stays, 4 reward nights and have a further 3 stays booked. If access to the offers that you publish are withdrawn then it will be goodby IHG from me.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  15. IP Daily
    September 13th, 2012 at 08:15 | #15

    Well, I am an IP lawyer, and it’s pretty clear to me that this is nominative fair use — you’re actually describing what it is: an insider’s guide to Priority Club.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use
    http://www.ipprospective.com/trademark-trend/a-law-report-nominative-fair-use-in-trademarks/

    This is a boneheaded move on IHG’s part, as the other commenters have recognized, because you drive traffic to priority club’s website and bodies to their beds.

    But for your tireless flagging of all the bonus-earning opportunities, I doubt I’d ever stay at an IHG hotel except when necessary.

  16. Robert S
    September 14th, 2012 at 13:13 | #16

    I agree with many that you were providing extra revenue for IHG. Some just do not get the word of mouth advertisement I guess.

  17. Lunky
    September 14th, 2012 at 15:52 | #17

    The domain ownership is your property, I would not transfer it to them. I would instead rename the site as you suggest, and update the content on this site to be a placeholder that is not related to the hotel industry. If they want the domain, they can purchase it from you.

    To me, reading their letter (I’m not a lawyer) it seems like “your sandwich looks likes my sandwich, give me your sandwich.”

    If you give it to them for free, I would be disappointed. I agree with the other posters, I enjoy this site and I enjoy hacking miles…I also exclusively use IHG because of the miles promotions…perhaps it’s time to do a status match and move away :)

  18. Amos
    September 14th, 2012 at 23:47 | #18

    @Bob
    well, you should have opened another account, and use it only for getting offers. I have two hilton accounts: the diamond gets no offers and the regular gets multiple ones.

  19. j atlanta
    September 15th, 2012 at 18:50 | #19

    @Bob
    Ditto……nuff said

  20. Buntroni
    September 16th, 2012 at 01:53 | #20

    Wat ****

  21. MIKE
    September 16th, 2012 at 02:26 | #21

    I have been a Priority Club Platinum Ambassador member for over 13 years. Because I generally stay loyal to The IHG brands I seem to get virtually no promotions or offers sent to me by them. This has been a trend over the past 6 to 7 years. The only way I have been able to keep updated about such offers and promotions has been through your site. Thanks for all your help and excellent information over this time. I hope that this situation will not prevent you from continuing the good work you have done, which is most appreciated by me and thousands of other Priority Club Members. Best wishes, Mike.

  22. GB
    September 16th, 2012 at 07:19 | #22

    Have to add that I can’t believe IHG are doing this to your site. Your site is helpful and it is one of the reason I stay with IHG (due to the promotions!). Domain doesn’t matter to me, but don’t transfer it to them if what the guys above are saying is correct..!

  23. Jamo
    September 17th, 2012 at 04:34 | #23

    Lunky’s suggestion #17 is the best option here.

    They have no right to expect you to hand over the domain and they appear on very shaky legal ground anyway.

    I would get the new site online with a new domain and do a 301 redirect to it. Google should update most of the links within a few months. Then sell the old domain on Sedo, they can buy it if they want it. I’m sure there are other businesses throughout English speaking countries using a scheme called Priority Club for other unrelated activities.

    I stay at IHG a lot, have Royal Ambassador etc. When I come across this sort of corporate behaviour it’s the sort of thing I expect from Apple not IHG. It sours my otherwise good taste of this company.

  24. PCPointsJunkie
    September 17th, 2012 at 17:34 | #24

    Regardless of “having a leg to stand on or not”, it can be a very expensive proposition.
    The real trick is if there is a reasonable chance that someone would misconstrue this as belonging to the real brand.

    Companies like Porsche do this all the time, offering any and all legal firms a bounty (e.g. percentage) of any money collected in such cases.

    Now, if it were me, I’d have fun with this. First I’d offer the lawyer a deal 1) he could buy the domain and use it for IHG at $10,000 (or some such amount) letting him know that you were going to switch the site to a porn site anyway (PriorityClubInsider.com , a site about what really goes on in the VIP room for those on the priority list for a given strip club). Second, i’d buy the domain PCPointsJunkie.com (it is available at this moment, but will probably be snatched up by someone now) and redirect the old domain (as someone else suggested) for a period of time. Then file for affiliate status with IHG, and on the new site, put a giant prominent logo that says, “this is NOT the official Priority Club website, click here” meanwhile the link would include your affiliate logo.

    -PCPointsJunkie

  25. JD
    September 20th, 2012 at 07:07 | #25

    @PCPointsJunkie

    Haha! Great ideas!

    Basically, ditto on what everyone else said. Don’t give in.

    @Vern – LOL @ “This is indeed a company that doesn’t know on which side of the bread to apply the butter.” Also, you’re right about the GPS not finding the hotel and them not having good signage. Has happened to me many times – not sure if it was Syracuse or Hartford, but could have been. Off topic, but does anyone else think it’s strange when you go to a place that has a few hotels next to each other and there’s a HUGE Super 8 sign and a tiny Holiday Inn sign? What’s up with that? Holiday Inn can’t afford a bigger sign like Super 8 can?? Lol.

  26. Jason
    September 23rd, 2012 at 00:17 | #26

    Make them buy it. You’ve been helping their membership and driving more business their way. It’s time they pay up.

  27. chuck
    September 24th, 2012 at 19:32 | #27

    @Bob

    I agree completely. I have been platinum for over a decade and never receive email notification of promotions.

    Either I see them here, or about 1 month into a promotion (if at all) in the hotels.

    Keep up the great work!

  28. Kitty
    September 26th, 2012 at 06:41 | #28

    Do please make a big effort to let us all know where your site ends up. To aid searchers, your posts will need to include “not allowed to be known as” and “formerly known as” Priority Club Insider for a while at least.

  29. Dave
    September 26th, 2012 at 10:47 | #29

    Thanks for all your help. Had a dispute (big storm, roof leaked, began dripping from ceiling at 2a) and when called PriorityClub to help resolve, they “gave” me 5,000 point by signing me up for a promo I had “not taken advantage of”. I used to go to IHG website monthly to click on “offer status” and it always said “you are signed up for all available promotions”. Well, thanks to you I now know that is BS. Without the promo’s I’d be looking at other options.

    So in my book, you have helped them retain a customer. I hope you can keep this site open long enough to post the address of the new site. I stumbled across this by chance and am so thankful I did.

    Thanks for all you do to help so many of us!! :)

  30. Patrick
    September 30th, 2012 at 21:27 | #30

    I too have been a Platinum member for a number of years and your tips have not only helped me build points, but many of the tips I find here has actually helped encourage me to get IHC and HI rooms. Let me know if you change the name. Thanks for your help!

  31. Mooper
    September 30th, 2012 at 23:47 | #31

    They probably discovered you by running a script that looks for occurrences of their name, not because someone manually discovered nor complained. Ignore their threats and force them to wrest it away if they really want to. It would require them to take action to win a judgement, and before proceeding, someone would review more carefully and kill the effort when they see that your site is complementary to their business instead of harmful. In the worst case scenario, they proceed and you lose the domain, which is the same result as if you give it up. Hang tight, I think you’ll be fine.

  32. VK
    October 2nd, 2012 at 18:26 | #32

    It’s been a month since you first posted your concern about their lawyer’s letter. So far you have gotten more “Hits” than the New York Yankees. Keep up the good work.
    A mighty big fan.

  33. Randolph
    October 3rd, 2012 at 09:44 | #33

    Sorry to weigh in on this late, i didn’t read all the comments, so i don’t know if I stole or they stole my re-name ideas but how about renaming it

    “This_is_not_IHG_Priority_Club_ but_links_you_to_the_best_of_their_convoluted_points_offer_system”

    or maybe

    “This_is_not_an_association_dedicated_to_a_particular_interest_that_is_regarded_as_more_important_than-another”

    Nah, they’re probably both way too long to remember.

    How about “Not-the-PriorityClub” nope, Jim Henson may rise from his grave and object.

    Albeit, the suit may be frivolous, and since they may or may not see how you are helping them I wouldn’t trust that the capricious nature of some companies will turn to your favor. You may want to be proactive and show them statistics on the hits for their offers after you have posted them.

    You may need/want to expand to other club markets and rename yourself Travel Point Insider. Who knows where your .com may go, paying royalties for copyrighted trademark names but getting paid for each hit from your website, you could potentially become a clearing house, one stop shop for many different clubs…. oh sorry associations dedicated to a particular interest. Some of those online hotel booking companies got their start small. Just a thought. Keep me posted….

  34. Randolph
    October 3rd, 2012 at 09:48 | #34

    PS hope you don’t have to go away, that would be a sad day in the points world.

  35. dave
    October 5th, 2012 at 00:31 | #35

    Behind the closed doors of IHG is a very sad company with a frequently bad business culture.
    They communicate so poorly with their own customers that they are in dire need of your assistance and efforts.You have created a unique site that prompts my interest in their brands and program more than anything IHG has ever done on their own .Pathetic
    They should sponser you and make your blog apart of their very own website!
    I’m a Royal Ambassador with them and I am thinking of throwing in the towel
    But mostly because they allow in the terms the hotels in some destinations to discriminate if elite members book on points.IHG is a sad case of a program thats lost its way even if you can earn bonus points generously.Thaank you for your brillaint efforts lest hope IHG has such a moment in their lifetime
    Cheers

  36. Darryl
    October 5th, 2012 at 14:11 | #36

    If it is changed, I will take the 50K/year that I do with IHG and go back to Marriott. They should be happy about this website. I have been a Platinum (not that it is hard to achieve) for the last 10 years. I too feel IHG is going in the wrong direction.

    Call it Club Priority.

  37. Julie
    October 5th, 2012 at 15:52 | #37

    Club Priority is a GREAT idea, Darryl. ClubPriorityInsider.com is likely not to hurt your ISO rankings.

    I’m sure this is a form letter that their legal department sent to everyone who has a trademarked phrase in their domain. Look at the wording — it’s establishing “harm” where there is none. They’re not likely to play ball because it would establish precedent and give others who are not actually promoting IHG a leg to stand on.

  38. DrRyan
    October 7th, 2012 at 07:26 | #38

    It seems though that the mail is quite generic (i.e., of the kind). I would contact IHG and kindly ask them in what way you infringe on their trademark as many poster already have said, you clearly state what the site is about. Every use of a trade name, even in an domain name, does not constitute an infringement. This would most likely hold water in court, but then again, it is not about having right but having the most resources to scare your opponent into silence and submission. Justice is open to all, like the Ritz Hotel.

  39. Dave
    October 8th, 2012 at 13:02 | #39

    This is a particularly strange way for IHG to go about their business. I have emailed them on your situation twice in the past month (with no reply from them). They need to (1) allow you to continue to provide the excellent service that you do for them, (2) pay you for all your good work driving business to them, (3) stop giving away Platinum membership so easily – you should have to stay at least 50 nights per year with no other way to obtain platinum status.
    By the way, if they continue to persue you, put out a message on this site and I, for one, will BOYCOTT their hotels if we can get a concerted effort among you followers to do so….
    I did my own little protest last week and stayed 3 out of 5 night at Hampton Inns!
    Let’s hit them in the only place they understand…….. their pockets!

  40. Stuart
    October 8th, 2012 at 15:32 | #40

    Crikey Dave, staying at Hampton Inn? Surely it’s not worth all that! So come on Priority Club Insider what are you gonna do? We all want to know …

  41. Jiabao
    October 14th, 2012 at 01:39 | #41

    The exact situation happened with Sony Ericsson before. There was a fan boy site/blog created and maintained for supporting Sony Ericsson smartphone, and the site had been running for years promoting and supporting Sony, but all of a sudden Sony sent a letter asking to shut down the site. People there protested heavily, and eventually Sony smartened up and realized the existence of the site is really pro Sony rather than against them. I hope IHG does the same thing – smartening up!

  42. Dave M
    October 17th, 2012 at 11:25 | #42

    I previously posted on Oct 8th as Dave but switched to Dave M to avoid confusion with others. Is anything happening yet? Are people up for a boycott? I have stayed only 6 nights since the middle of September in protest at this heavy handedness on their part (I had stayed 60 nights prior to this date so far this year)! I estimate they have lost around $1500 from me in lost business…….. hope they are monitoring this site and are seeing how much business and goodwill they are losing.

    Have you done anything yet? Would love some more feedback from you.

  43. John
    November 2nd, 2012 at 12:59 | #43

    I really don’t think that IHG would be so short sighted considering the (my perception of their) benefit to their business promotion and bottom line.

  44. Johnathan Pope
    November 13th, 2012 at 09:51 | #44

    I’d happily ‘transfer’ the domain name to them…for a nominal fee, of say….£10M ? :)

  45. Jodi Helm
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:21 | #45

    I really remember that day because i was trying to figure out why i always had issuses with Priority cub rewards and saw that they wanted to take there domain name back because no one has used it but i would of used it because it was mine and everytime i would try someone there to throw me off my status.

    @IP Daily I so remember allways looking at priority IHG on my facebook and allways having problems with people taking things that r not theres i read the source page with my account info my name and Jodi Helm r u that theif i am going to take care of this now

  46. June 24th, 2014 at 01:44 | #46

    I’ve been surfing online morde than 3 hourss nowadays, but I never
    found any fascinating article like yours. It’s pretty value
    enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content material
    as yyou probably did, the internet can be a lot more useful than ever before.

Comment pages
1 2 1771
  1. October 1st, 2012 at 19:13 | #1