The liquidation sale at Toys ‘R’ Us is about to get weird.
As stores offer deep discounts on Barbies and Pokemon cards, the chain is preparing for the auction of its intellectual property, which will include its iconic mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe and a large number of Internet domain names apparently bought to ensure no one had them—including sex-toys-r-us.com and toysrussucks.com.
Toys ‘R’ Us bought hundreds of website URLs over the years that could be offensive or negative, a standard corporate move to prevent someone from disparaging the company or taking advantage of its brand identity.
“They just went crazy,” Bob Phibbs, a brand specialist and chief executive of the Retail Doctor consulting firm, told Retuers. “I’m sure they were laughing and drinking Red Bull and then just came up with every iteration they could.”
Among the domains up for sale are ihatetoysrus.com, toysrussucks.com, kinkytoysrus.com, adult-toys-r-us.com, recipes-r-us.com, burgers-r-us.com, and cigars-r-us.com.
While the defensive domains are amusing, the real prizes are the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’Us brands. All have tremendous name recognition and could potentially be used again. Several defunct companies, including Circuit City, have been resurrected after going out of business. (One possible bidder? The billionaire behind the Bratz dolls, who has been vocal in his desire to take over the chain.)
The intellectual property sale will take place next month. Individual stores and warehouses were expected to begin closing this week.
Even Geoffrey has the chance at a second career. After Pets.com went belly-up in the dotcom crash, its well-known sock puppet mascot was purchased by loan firm 1-800-Bar-None, where it promoted the brand for years.