Cybersquatting has affected online businesses for many years and there are no signs that the problem is going to go away any time soon. Third parties often attempt to profit from the use of company trademarks by registering domain names in bad faith. Businesses targeted by these “cybersquatters” can suffer consumer confusion, fraud, lost sales and reputational damage.
The problem stems from the fact that individuals can register any domain name that has not already been purchased by another party. This in itself is not the problem–the issue is the fact that some individuals and groups choose to abuse this liberty. And unless businesses are extremely proactive in terms of registering domains, they cannot prevent fraudsters from doing so. Relatively few firms register domains covering every possible variation of their trademark when they set up online business operations–doing so would not only be a laborious, but also potentially expensive, process.
The problem with cybersquatters
Unless a business makes a host of defensive domain name registrations at the outset, they are at risk of becoming a cybersquatting victim. Malicious individuals or groups can register domains which feature common spelling mistakes, aiming to capitalize on careless typing when a web user inputs an address into their URL bar. Or they could simply use the name of a company or one of its brands in conjunction with other words or phrases. Businesses would not tolerate a company selling counterfeit versions of their goods, so why should they put up with brand abuse over the Internet?
In order to support a free and open Internet, it is important that people be able to register the domain names of their choosing. This gives new businesspeople acting in good faith the opportunity to protect their trademarks and begin trading over the Internet. But it is equally important for companies to be able to protect their intellectual property across all platforms, including the web. So where third parties register domains in bad faith, the rightful trademark holder needs to have opportunity for recourse. Whether this is via domain and trademark regulators–such as the World Intellectual Property Organization–or through the courts, businesses must be able to protect their commercial interests.
Domain name recovery
In a difficult economic climate, it becomes even more important for companies to guard their trademarks against manipulation and misuse in other domains. Businesses lose millions every year in diverted traffic, increased paid search costs, lost revenue and legal expenses–and it is crucial that they take proactive steps to avoid becoming another victim.
In order to take steps to protect against cybersquatting, businesses need to be aware that there is a problem. And this is where domain name recovery services can prove their worth. By hiring a recovery expert such as CSC, companies can identify and recover high-impact domain names that are currently being exploited by third parties. Until firms become aware of the fact their trademarks are being exploited, they are unable to take defensive action.
CSC performs a domain audit to identify infringements using domain names that are impacting a company’s bottom line and diverting substantial web traffic away from their brand. This enables companies to take the steps necessary to protect their interests. The firm searches and locates additional infringing domains held by a single registrant, in some cases enabling the recovery of hundreds of infringing domains through a single enforcement action.