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WEB HOSTING FAQS

What is Cybersquatting?
By: Joe Eitel
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    2009-09-02

    Table of Contents:
  • What is Cybersquatting?
  • Methods
  • Legal Ramifications
  • Notable Cases

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    What is Cybersquatting? - Methods


    (Page 2 of 4 )

    As previously mentioned, there are numerous common methods of cybersquatting. One of the most prolific (while less effective) of these is expiration theft. After a given period, all domain names expire (they are typically only registered for a year at a time). Although the owner of the domain is given the option of renewing before the time is up, sometimes the registration is allowed to lapse by accident. Squatters take advantage of these times and almost instantly purchase many domains that expire. The rightful owner is then faced with the prospect of attempting to buy back the domain that they owned just a day or two before.

    The most obvious form of cybersquatting is known as "name jacking." This is basically where a squatter will take advantage of the lack of a website for a popular company or person, similar to the Mr. Smith example from before. For local businesses and individuals, the effort of challenging the squatter and regaining rights to their name often proves very difficult. Depending on the relative popularity of the company or individual, name jacking can be the most effective form of cybersquatting.

    Typosquatting is another common method of cybersquatting. It involves taking advantage of common misspellings of popular websites to attempt to attract traffic. For instance, there is a relatively large volume of traffic every day that mis-types Google.com as Googl.com. By purchasing the Googl.com domain name, a squatter can take advantage of Google's popularity for their own gain. These cases are often harder to challenge legally, as typos such as Googl are clearly not the same as the company's trademarked name.

    A lesser known form of cybersquatting is called "reverse domain jacking." This happens when a company or individual uses their trademarked name to attempt to gain control of a previously popular website. For example, Heathrow Land Development, a small company in Florida, attempted to legally gain control of the Heathrow.com website, which belongs to the large airport in London. Fortunately, these attempts are relatively infrequent and are generally dismissed easily by the larger owners of the websites.

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