01 Sep 2016

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What is Domain Cybersquatting?

I bet, you have never in your life heard of the term cybersquatting, do not confuse it with regular squatting, because the two things have nothing in common. OK, maybe they do a little. In squatting a person occupies a land, over which they have no legal rights, in cybersquatting, a person buys a domain that is similar to the one of an already existing website (with malicious reasons) and gains profit by selling it to the owner of the original domain, to a much higher price.

There are people in this world that gain their income, by harming others. Cybersquatters are people, who would register a well-established trademark as a domain, and then try to make money out of it by offering to sell it back to the owner of the same trademark, or by selling it to their competitors, or by diverting the business from the original domain. The act of cybersquatting is also known as domain squatting or holding a domain for ransom.

These people are creative and don't rely on the idea that people would just pay for the domain, they make everything possible for that to happen. Sometimes they would register several variants of a trademark, even with typos, which is known as typo-squatting, thus making them pay even more money. With social media being more popular than ever, cybersquatters have begun terrorizing trademarks even there.

Sometimes cybersquatters would leave the domains with no sites attached to them, but sometimes they would build a website with a content consistent entirely of adds, with the intent of diverting Internet traffic from the owner. Sometimes these ads would lead to competitors of the original site. Very often even famous people become victims of cybersquatters. They obtain a domain with the name of the celebrity and start to besmirch the name of the brand, that name represents (the name Will Smith represents the brand that is Will Smith), then they demand a ransom for the domain. Famous people who have been victims of cybersquatters are actor Kevin Spacey and rock star Bruce Springsteen.

Some countries have laws against cybersquatting, but no notable progress has been made. Cybersquatters continue to menace the web. And sometimes is easier to pay them, than to go through the process of taking the issue to court.

We advise you to take the precautions needed to avoid becoming a victim of cybersquatters. Here are some suggestions:

  • You should register all of TLD versions of your domain name and company name. (.com; .net; .info; .biz….)
  • If your company's name consists of two or more words, you should register it both with and without dashes.
  • Make sure you have covered all the common misspellings that can be done while typing.

There are cases in which, an ex-employee or even a current one may register a domain similar to the original one, with the intention of hurting the company, most commonly they register a "sucks" variation in which the original domain is followed by "sucks". There they might leave bad reviews about the company, false statements and so on.

One could say that buying all of those domain variations can get pricey, but it is a small price to pay for a piece of mind. One could also ask, doesn't buy all of those domains require having a unique site attached to them. The answer is- no. You can register as many domains as you like, and the best part is that you can put them to use by simply parking the domains. This means that you can have all of those additional domains lead to your website, which provides easier accessibility to your website.

The  team of ETNHost advises you to consider your options and if you suspect that you might become a target of cybersquatters, act fast. You can use our services to register your domain variations and we will park them free of charge. Don't delay it until its too late and give yourself a piece of mind!

Categories: Domain Names
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