Staying Safe from Domain Trolls
Having A Good Domain
Much like a storefront window, a good domain will create awareness and attract customers. Establishes your business as tech-savvy and forward-thinking. Whether you actually sell products online or not. It is crucial to your reputation to claim your territory online. Creates mobility for your internet presence. Keep staying Safe from Domain Trolls.
What Are Domain Trolls?
Domain name trolls’ is a generic term for people or businesses that strategically register desirable domain names. Which they don’t intend to use for legitimate purposes. This is known as ‘domain squatting’ or ‘cyber-squatting’.
These could be:
- Another business’ name or slogan which hasn’t yet been registered as a domain name by the business itself
- An existing domain name which is in use, but about to expire
- A variant of an existing business domain name – for example, differently spelled, misspelled, or separating words differently, eg using hyphens or dots
- Breaking news – for example, the name of a new venture or brand announced by a major corporation
They can then:
- Sell the domain name on to the most likely party (such as the business whose name or slogan it is) for a profit
- Sell it to a competitor or someone else who might use it to harm your business, such as a disgruntled customer
- Otherwise misuse the name – eg by using the site to show advertisements or sell their own products, setting it to redirect to another site, or even infecting users’ computers with malware when they mistakenly visit.
How Does It Work?
In order to reap the benefits of this moral gray area. Hundreds of companies participate in “domain name warehousing”. This includes many well-known registrars. A registrar is a business that buys and sets up the domain and then assigns it an IP address.
It is, however, become easier and easier to find private companies and individuals that are in engaging in this activity. They will purchase thousands of domain names and hold them in order to sell them to someone who wants to use them for their legitimate business. In some cases. The companies have become so aggressive that they will even pressure you into a payment by threatening a petition to cancel your existing registration.
In the past, people concerned about their Internet presence often focused on preventing cyber-squatting or typo squatting. Cyber-squatting occurs when someone buys a URL that would typically be associated with a company or personality. For example, opponents of genetic engineering created monsantoglobal.com. A site designed to look like it was run by the agrochemical and biotech company and issued fake press releases. For several years, Google.com (that’s Google with an extra ‘o’), brought poor types to a website that infected their computer with malware.
But today’s trickster and trolls have moved beyond such simple activities. New domains, such as. sucks, .gripe, and .pizza, are being rolled out constantly, and they can cost a fair amount of money to register. For someone who wants to have control over their online image, at least in the form of URLs, staying on top of every variation can require diligence and a lot of spare change.
What If a Troll’s Already Registered My Domain Name?
If you do have trouble, you can look up who owns the domain name you want and contact them. Offering to buy the domain. Nominate (the registrar for.co.uk domain names) also offers a mediation service in case of disputes. This is a good first option, although it may not work if the owner is determined to be malicious.
You may also be able to prosecute if someone’s trying to infringe your trademark, or if they’re using your business name ‘in bad faith’ (eg to fool customers by selling products similar to yours).
How Can I Protect My Business?
Although it is sharp practice. Domain name trolling is not generally illegal. However, you may be rightly worried if someone is using your business’ name and goodwill to mislead customers and damage your reputation. The best way to protect your business is to be proactive. Register any domain names you want to use in good time.
For extra security, you could register variants of your domain name (such as .com as well as.co.uk), and associated phrases such as slogans, and set them up to redirect to your real website. Be sure to manage your domain name registrations carefully and renew them in good time before they expire.
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