Have the term cybersquatting ever crossed your mind? You may easily confuse cybersquatting with the regular squatting, but surprisingly the two terms are quite different. Ofcourse, they may share scanty features but the intentions differ. In the ordinary squatting an individual occupies a domain illegally. With cybersquatting a person purchases a domain that is the same as an already existing website usually with malicious intentions. The person then gain profit by selling the domain at an inflated price to the person who owned the original domain. Cybersquatting also go with other names such as: holding a domain at ransom or domain squatting.
If there are people worldwide who earn their income maliciously, it is the Cybersquatters. They just register a deep-rooted brand as a domain and then end up making a lot of money by reselling the same trademark to the owner or more worse to a competitor. Cybersquatters can also switch the venture from the original domain.
Cybersquatters are very innovative people. They do not only dwell with the idea that unsuspecting people will just buy the domain. They do everything at their disposal to ensure that the domain will be bought. Now and again they would register various alternative trademarks to target you smartly. They would even register the domain with typing errors which is called typo-squatting and hence you end up paying hefty amount. With the advent and popularity of social media, cybersquatters have found a great avenue to thrive in what they do best.
Cybersquatters operate intelligently in various ways. One way is where they would just leave the domains without a site attached to them. Secondly, cybersquatters can design a website with a content consisting of only ads. This is with a motive of redirecting traffic from the owner. Occasionally these ads would emerge leading to rivals of the original site. Celebrities have also found themselves victims of cybersquatters. For instance, Rock star Bruce Springsteen and actor Kevin Spacey have been messed through cybersquatting. The domain squatters can get a domain with the celebrity’s name and start to defame the trademark’s name and eventually hold the domain at ransom.
Various countries have anti-cybersquatting laws, but unfortunately the vice has gone un-abated. Cybersquatting has persisted and continue to be threat in the internet. Many victims at times find it easier to pay the ransom price than to follow the cumbersome court process.
How you protect your own domains ?
With the above overview, it is imperative that you take the necessary precaution to avoid being a victim of cybersquatting. The following are some guidelines that can save you from the menace.
- To start with, you should register every version of the Top-level-domains (TLDs) of your domain name and business name. (.org; .net; .com; .biz and so on)
- In case your company’s name has two or more words, ensure you register both the company with and without dashes.
- Get rid of all the typing errors to ensure that the common spelling mistakes are taken care of.
- Beware of some of your former employees or even the existing ones who might act as cybersquatters. You might find that such rogue employees register a domain same as the original one aiming to hurting your enterprise. Normally they register a “sucks” variant where the original domain is followed by “sucks”. On those grounds they may leave malicious reviews and false information about your company which may hurt your business enormously.
You may argue that purchasing a variety of domain variants can be expensive, but the investment is worth the cost. You will rest assured that cybersquatters will be kept at bay. Fortunately, buying many domains does not imply that they need a unique website linked to them. You have the freedom to register all the domains that you want and the advantage is that you can apply them by just parking the domains. This implies that you have all the domains at your disposal to lead your site. Your website accessibility will therefore increase tremendously hence marketing your business effectively.
Since any person can fall a victim of cybersquatters, you should act instantly if you think you are being targeted. Delaying may not only give you a headache but also it may cost you heavily in the long run. Consider registering your domain variants with any of these two reputable domain registrars: GoDaddy or NameCheap.