Years ago, a judge transferred from one major Scottish city to another. After a while in his new court, he expressed his disappointment. He did enjoy Edinburgh, he said, but really missed the Glasgow criminals – they were just so much more inventive.
Com Laude’s domain name brand protection team can empathise. We have dealt with incredibly innovative cybersquatting for over 20 years and there’s never a dull moment. Each example is added to our Casebook for future reference. Abusive domain names provide endless opportunities, some of which we’ve described elsewhere in this series – from business compromise to phishing, malware distribution to traffic theft.
In the early days, the most common abuse was of the classic variety, best described in the report of a genuine telephone call between an author, Jeanette Winterson (of Oranges are not the only Fruit fame) and a cybersquatter who had registered <jeanettewinterson.com>:
“Hello, is that [cybersquatter]?”
“So why do you want to be me? This is Jeanette Winterson”.
“You’re the first author who has rung me up. I have had a lot of hate mail though, which is really distressing”.
“Don’t you think we might be distressed?”
“You hadn’t registered it yourself”.
“So why have you done this?”
“To make money basically”.
Ah, the essence of “old school” cybersquatting! Registering a domain to take commercial advantage of a trademark. Here, the registrant was honest about his motives and maybe not so inventive. However, cybersquatters are not always as straightforward. Here are a few ingenious examples from the archive:
<babydior.com> (Complainant: Christian Dior). Explanation: “The proper pronunciation of our domain is “babydyor” for baby dinosaur. A purple dinosaur is a favourite children’s character and features strictly educational software.”
<nasdaq.tv> (Complainant: The NASDAQ Stock Market). Explanation: Registrant building a website to provide answers to the questions that North American Sikhs have been posing – North American Sikhs Demanding Answers to their Questions (“N.A.S.D.A.Q.”).
<prada.org> (Complainant: PRADA). Explanation: Registrant’s organization promotes “Public Relations and Design Analysis” (“P.R.A.D.A.”).
<liverpoolfc.com> (Complainant: Liverpool Football Club). Explanation: Registrant promoting the new “Liverpool Fashion Club”.
<damonhill.com> (Complainant: Racing driver Damon Hill). Explanation: A business named “Dam on the Hill” after a local beauty spot. “I hardly think that a web design company that has a Dam on a Hill could be confused with a race car driver,” said the registrant.
Creativity in cybersquatting means that new tactics, justifications, or explanations arise daily. To be able to tackle those effectively, it makes sense to entrust domain name brand protection to the experts. With two decades’ experience, there is little we have not seen before. There are countless examples in the Com Laude Casebook where our research tools, such as domain watching system Demys Platform, proved to be the key to our clients’ success.
Innovation works both ways.
If you would like to know more about our domain watching service, contact us.
Uncover more real-life scenarios in our Com Laude Casebook series here.