Thu Jun 03 2021
A new report from the EUIPO shows how exposed online traders are to real and reputational damage from cybersquatters
Move over COVID recovery worries – the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) has just released a study showing how unprotected online trademarks and websites are from “cybersquatting”.
The study, conducted by the EUIPO, has shown over 62 million of the 639 million registered domains they monitor - comprised of DNS Zone files containing all Top Level Domain data, could potentially be classified as ‘suspicious sites’ due to a tactic known as “cybersquatting”.
The purpose of the study was to research the potential scope of cybersquatting taking place in the domain name world and has quickly revealed several bad faith tactics deployed by these cybersquatters to monetise existing IPR (Intellectual Property Rights.)
Cybersquatting takes many forms.
You might have in mind an image of a hacker, sat at a computer, scamming consumers out of their money, but that's only a small part of the problem.
Cybersquatting also exploits consumers faith in genuine brand experiences online which is where competitor cybersquatting comes into play.
Competitors 'squatting' on an existing brand leaves their consumers feeling disappointed, defrauded, and misled; driving many to look elsewhere.
So how do you spot a cybersquatter?
A lot of it comes down to checking the URL, making sure you've ended up where you expected to.
For example, if you searched for an e-commerce clothing brand and the registered domain was “DIVADesign.com”, there is nothing stopping a cybersquatter from registering as “DIVADesigns.com” (note the additional S) and filling the secondary website up with dodgy links, scam products and more.
Although the report offers no definitive answer, it hopes to raise awareness of this issue amongst large brands and smaller, independent traders,
It sought to understand cybersquatting methods, diffrent types of cybersquatters and the business models they use, and how to arm consumers and businesses with a level of understand to effectively combat cybersquatting.
Defensively buying all domain variation doesn’t, can't and won't suit all business models. Small businesses just can’t afford that type of defence.
The report also asks should it even come down to the consumer to be more vigilant?
With greater clarity and understanding of the the problem’s it's hoped legislation can now be enacted to help address this escalating issue.
Thu Jun 03 2021