What You Should Know About Domain Squatting

What You Should Know About Domain Squatting


Cybersquatting is a foreign term to most people unless you are someone who has an online presence and a trademark that you want to protect. Also known as domain squatting, these terms call attention to a practice whereby “domainers” register a web address containing the name of a company, brand, person, etc. without their authorization.

Making Money Off Of Domains

Wi-FiPeople will often register these names in a bid to make money off of them through advertising, sometimes holding them in reserve until they receive compensation from the company in exchange for selling the domain to them. ICANN, which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, oversees the market and handles disputes. But it isn’t always a simple thing for people to retrieve domains that they think belong to them.

But now there could be reason for you to be concerned about this problem, especially if your name or your child’s name is taken by someone else. In a recent ruling from ICANN, the organization is planning to expand the number of suffixes (*gov, *com and * org, just to name a few) to include other suffixes including those which may be valued by certain brands.

New Suffixes Are On The Way

Specifically, if the .apple suffix is used, this move could upset Apple Computers, which has tried (sometimes in vain) to secure a number of different variations of its name. Unfortunately for Apple, the company’s name is also a popular fruit, thus ICANN hasn’t been too interested in protecting what the company considers to be its internet property rights.

So what should you do? You can’t buy every variation of your child’s name, right? Most certainly you can’t or at least you can’t keep up with this change. But, what you can do is this:

Register Your Domains

Visit a popular domain registrar such as GoDaddy to see if your child’s name is still available. For example, enter fredericksmith.com to see if that name is available and, if so, register it. If you want, register other versions of the name including .net an .org. However, keep in mind that you’ll pay an annual fee for each domain registered, an amount that can quickly add up.

Why would you want to secure your child’s name? That’s easy — at some point he or she may want open his or her business and use their own name. If you buy it now, prices should be low. However, if their name is taken and they want it later on, it could cost hundreds even tens of thousands of dollars to retrieve their domain.

For its part ICANN is a non-profit organization with minimal government oversight. Based in California, the organization does work with other organizations to combat illegal instances of domain squatting, but with new suffixes regularly rolling out, its ability to handle each case becomes more strained as time marches on.

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".