Domainmonster.com Industry News
Online Squatting or Cybersquatting
Online squatting known as cybersquatting is the process of registering internet domain names that steal well-known trademarks. It can be an extremely profitable process as money is made from the registration fees and advertising and even the Domain Name System (DNS) manages to charge a fee.
But on the flip side it’s not so rosy for corporate officials like Lynn Goodendorf, who heads global privacy at InterContinental Hotels Group PLC.
The Windsor based company that owns seven major hotel chains such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza with more than 3,700 properties worldwide. Each day, Goodendorf gets about 100 e-mail alerts concerning potential trademark infringements from three different domain monitoring services.
Tracking down the identities of the potential infringing domain holders can be a tricky task. Their registrations often are private, and when identifying information is available, it may be inaccurate. Subpoenas are sometimes needed to uncover the identities of individuals, she said.
Defensive measures, such as registering Domain Names that cybersquatters might target, can help, but only to a point. “We have tried to register common misspellings or to have letters transposed,” Goodendorf said. But it’s impossible to anticipate every name combination, she added, citing the cybersquatting site capitolholidayinn.com as an example.
So is the Domain Name System is showing signs of being out of control? Speculators now use automated software systems to re-register large batches of expired domain names. They’re also helped by a loophole in the registration process that lets domains be tested for their potential profitability as pay-per-click advertising sites during a free trail period. These are certainly helping to test the restraints of the current system.