The Man Who Fought Nissan Over a Website—And Won—Has Died of COVID-19

The automaker tried to wrest the Nissan.com domain name from him in court, but it was the little guy that won the ensuing war of attrition.

Nissan (left) GoFundMe | Erez Halfon (right)

Back in 1999, a man by the name of Uzi Nissan turned down an offer from Nissan Motor Company to buy the domain name Nissan.com, which he was using for his electronics firm Nissan Computer. Nissan (the car company) then tried to seize the domain from the entrepreneur in court, igniting a multi-year legal battle that Uzi alleged cost him $3 million. But in the end, it was big Nissan that backed down, and Nissan.com remained the property of Uzi, who repurposed the site to tell of his confrontation with the corporate giant. Some time within the last few weeks, however, Nissan.com went dark, and that may be because Uzi himself has sadly lost his life to COVID-19.

Uzi's passing was announced via a GoFundMe campaign, which his surviving family members launched Saturday, July 18. The Nissan clan states that it will use any funds received to cover medical expenses accrued from Uzi's struggle with COVID-19, as well as fund higher education for his children. To that end, it has raised just over $15,000 at the time of this article.

Wayback Machine | Nissan.com

Archived Nissan.com homepage

The former businessman's hard-won website appears to have gone offline some time since July 10, which is when its home page was most recently archived on Wayback Machine. A tech-savvy DIYer, Uzi Nissan's site may have been self-hosted and in his absence, any server problems may have temporarily (or permanently) brought the site down. Regardless of what caused the site's outage, a statement issued to The Drive by Nissan (Motor Company) suggests a domain takeover is likely not in the automaker's plans.

"Nissan North America has established NissanUSA.com as our U.S. homepage," stated Dan Passe, Director of Corporate communications for Nissan North America. "Most consumers find brands via marketing messages, online search or social media, and NissanUSA.com is easily identified through these channels."

Jalopnik published an exceptional feature on Uzi's constant back-and-forth with Nissan corporate in 2018. It's worth a read in full as it depicts his strong-willed nature, immigrating from Israel to the United States some 40 years ago and becoming a self-made businessman who took on an auto giant.

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h/t Jalopnik