“Cybersquatting” has been something fairly common in the industry for a while. I’m sure even some of you that are reading this may buy and hold domains based on the fact that price and value goes up every year. Something however that has a lot of businesses and organizations on the defense is the fact that thousands of domains are registered every year with copyright names within or as a part of the domain registered.
The views on this issue are somewhat split. While some ‘squatters’ have registered domains to put defamatory content about a company, others have registered various domains and jacking up prices to ridiculous amounts in hopes of a company with that name wanting to buy it.
Let me give you one example of what I am talking about. Locally here in the Houston area where our corporate office is located, there is a car dealership that is very well known named Munday Chevrolet. You would think they own mundaychevrolet.com right? Wrong. They own munday-chevrolet.com, a second rate domain name for your company if you ask me.
If you go to mundaychevrolet.com you will find very brief text from the website owner saying why he would never buy a car from Munday Chevrolet. Previously the site was used for pornography. Thats got to be bad for business especially when you have to tell potential customers to add a dash in the middle of your name.
Lets take an even bigger name into consideration that caused a legal battle for years, nissan.com as opposed to nissanusa.com. The only problem here is that this is a bit complicated. What happens when your last name is truly Nissan? This guy is not trying to ‘cybersquat’ at all. He has a legitimate computer business he is running on this site. It’s unfortunate that Nissan motor company had a lawsuit filed against this guy. So where does the gray line run into black and white, making things clear as to what domain you should and shouldn’t be able to own without legal ramifications? (Read more about the Nissan case HERE.)
According to a group called the “World Intellectual Property Organization” that watches over ‘cybersquatting’ occurrences, it has been reported that the snatching up of domain names of popular celebrities names and corporations from the previous year is up 18%, and is continuing to rise. The industries that had the largest issues with this was biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Closely following was financial institutions and banking.
The fact is, anyone can register a domain name, and people will continue to register domains that contain parts of or even full trademarked names. We could go on even further with domains that are typos as well, but I’m gonna leave it at that. Now its your turn to give us your thoughts. Where should the lines be drawn?