Rupert Murdoch has finally been outfoxed. He has lost the internet domain name for the Fox Business Network to a Florida businessman called Derek Hodges. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has ruled that Hodges is the rightful owner of the name FoxBusinessNetwork.com, which he registered in February 2007 just hours before Murdoch announced he was launching his new cable TV channel.
Although he did not officially register the name until then, Hodges claimed he had used FoxBusinessNetwork.com for at least five years and produced promotional material to back up his claims. Murdoch argued that the last-minute registration of the name was an effort to create confusion and accused Hodges of trying to extract $50,000 from NewsCorp for the name last August. WIPO conceded that the timing of the domain name registration was "suspicious" but accepted Hodges's claim.
A News Corp spokesman said the company was now considering "other options".The ruling comes as Fox Business News struggles to compete with the established CNBC business channel, despite Murdoch having hired a bevy of attractive female anchors - inevitably dubbed 'the foxy ladies' - to help win viewers. They included former flight attendant Cheryl Casone, ex-model Shibani Joshi and former basketball player Alexis Glick (pictured).
But January figures from AC Nielsen revealed that, in its first few months on air, Fox Business drew an estimated 6,000 viewers on an average weekday while CNBC, which has been on air for nearly two decades, attracted a massive 283,000. Experts have pointed out, however, that Fox is watched in offices, which are not covered by the Nielsen ratings.
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