What is Cybersquatting?

4 Dec 2015 / Freeparking Team / Top Level Domains New gTLDs .nz Domains

Cybersquatting is a growing threat to those who have successfully registered a domain name for their business. Being aware of the existence of cybersquatters will help you protect your business from being a target.

What is cybersquatting?

Cybersquatting, also referred to as domain squatting, is where an individual purchases a domain name with the intention of gaining financially from another company. One of the most common ways cybersquatters do this is by choosing to register the same name with a different domain name extension. Once successfully registered, they sell it to the business at an inflated price.

Cybersquatters can also get creative when selecting domain names in a practice known as typosquatting. As a typosquatter, the individual would register a domain name that is the misspelling of a popular, highly trafficked website. They profit from visitors who make a typo when inputting the URL into their browser. Often these websites contain pay-per-click ads where the money is directed to the typosquatter each time a link is clicked.

Is cybersquatting a threat to my business?

Cybersquatting has become a greater threat to online businesses over the years as the Internet has expanded and is now considered a ‘cybercrime’. Anyone with a successful website can fall victim to cybersquatting, especially if they are unaware of the threat.

In the case you neglect to register a domain name, cybersquatters are in a position to easily steal it from you. The chances are they will then approach you to purchase it back making an easy profit. Alternatively, they may profit directly from the visitors of your site by littering it with pay-per-click advertising.

Cybersquatters are also known to use the domain name to gain a competitive edge. They do this by adapting the website to promote a competitor’s products or services.

How can I protect my company from cybersquatting?

Every successful online business has the potential to be the target of cybersquatters, so it is important you protect your company. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by creating a strategy to manage your domain names.

This would mean that the appropriate people within your business will know the domain name details and dates they are due for re-registration to ensure each individual URL doesn’t lapse.

Another way to protect your company is to register variations of your domain name when you are building your website. For example, if you are located in a particular country, instead of registering just a.com domain, consider registering .co.nz, .nz or the .kiwi extension. The additional URL’s can be simply directed to your main site at no additional cost.

Falling victim to cybersquatting can be an expensive lesson to learn. Being proactive and aware can minimise the risk of your domain name falling into the wrong hands.

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