When now bankrupt Toys R Us puts its assets on the auction block next month, some expected things will be up for sale — like the toy and game retailer's internationally recognized mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, according to recent CNBC reports.
Less expected will be several of the company-owned website domain names for sale, including sex-toys-r-us.com, ihatetoysrus.com, toysrussucks.com, kinkytoysrus.com and adult-toys-r-us.com. Toys R Us owns those names to prevent other firms from using them — and from encroaching on its brand.
“They just went crazy,” noted Bob Phibbs, a brand specialist and chief executive of the Retail Doctor consulting firm, when asked about the number of domain names Toys R Us scooped up. “I'm sure they were laughing and drinking Red Bull and then just came up with every iteration they could.”
Not all the choices Toys R Us claimed were racy in nature. The toy and game retailer was also the proud owner of dozens of other domain name related to the “R Us” concept, like lodges-r-us.com, bistros-r-us.com, recipes-r-us.com, burgers-r-us.com and even cigars-r-us.com.
“It shows the power of the brand,” said Phibbs. “The 'R Us' is the key to the brand, not the Toys.”
Now that the toys are out of the picture, plenty of other brands — including sex toy makers, restaurants and cigar aficionados, among myriad others — are free to feast on the remains of the “R Us” concept, and spread it far and wide throughout the land.
The auction is targeted at all the bankrupt toy and game retail chain's intellectual property. This means the brand name, well-known Geoffrey logo and entire Babies R Us brand are all up for sale as the firm looks to raise funds to clear its obligations to its creditors.
A spokeswoman for Toys R Us did not immediately respond to a request for comment.