Angry Traveler Ordered to Close 'I Hate Ryanair' Website

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A UK tribunal has ruled an angry airline passenger can no longer operate his ihateryanair.co.uk website. But Robert Tyler may get the last laugh.

Tyler was ordered to hand over his domain name for the site, which he launched in 2007 to criticize the low-fare Irish carrier. But Tyler has responded by reopening under a new name, www.ihateryanair.org, and publishing a lambasting editorial about what he says is the carrier's failed attempt to shut him down.

The site is dedicated to publishing "horror stories" about the carrier. In every article, Tyler refers to Ryanair as "the world's most hated airline.".

Ryanair went to the tribunal complaining that from January to May of this year, Tyler's site displayed third party links to websites selling travel insurance and foreign currency, which netted Tyler about $500. That, Ryanair argued, took unfair advantage of its name for commercial gain.

Nominet, which resolves domain name disputes in the UK, agreed with the carrier, and ruled Tyler breached rules using a brand name to make money.

Adjudicator Jane Seager says in a ruling, "It is the very nature of a criticism website that discussion should be open and not influenced by commercial concerns."

Seager also makes clear that profit, not content, was the reason for the decision. "In a free and open society internet users should generally be able to post comments on their recent experiences or on current events, as long as such postings do not fall foul of the law," she says.

On his new domain name, Tyler responds to the ruling by calling the carrier "Lyingair," and saying the airline won the dispute on a "small technicality." He also vows to continue to provide readers "all the latest on how this pathetic excuse for an airline will attempt to extract cash from you through sneaky hidden charges, fly you to places that are not where you actually want to go and leave you stranded when the crap hits the fan."

The carrier is often criticized for its many added fees. Ryanair's controversial chairman, Michael O'Leary, has been known to feed the flames. He's been in the news recently for, among other things, proposals to add standing room-only seats and to start charging for in-flight toilet use.

Photo, aromano, flickr

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