The internet has made some things easier while creating new problems for businesses. One such problem is cybersquatting. We often see stores with similar names to a popular brand, popping up in different parts of a city. These enterprises are easily caught before they can cause any harm to the original business.
But when it happens on the Internet, things can easily take a bad turn. Before we go into further detail, let’s learn a bit about cybersquatting.
It is buying, registering or using a domain name with the intention of profiting from someone else’s reputation. These domains are often similar, using a different spelling for a word. But most often, people buy these domains to sell it to the original business for a hefty sum.
How can it harm businesses?
There are multiple risks associated with the existence of similar domain names. If a business offers the same products or services, they can steal your clients. It can affect your bottom line as well as your reputation.
People who intend to sell it to you will quote a huge sum for the domain name. This will result in monetary loss. If you don’t agree to pay, they might threaten to sell it to another similar business.
It can also happen if you have a trademark, but have yet to register a domain for your business. With cybersquatting, you risk losing a good representative domain name.
How can you tell if you’re a victim?
A quick search on the Internet will tell you if there’s a similar domain. When you find one, go on the website and see if it looks genuine. You can tell it’s a cybersquatter if it displays a sign saying ‘for sale’. We recommend keeping an eye on the domain for a month or two to be sure.
Even if it’s a functioning website, is there anything that copies your business? Advertisements, products and information given on the site will be similar or copied if it’s a cybersquatter. Their line of business will essentially be similar to yours.
If the former is not the case, then it’s probably a genuine website with no intention of harming your business.
What can you do if you’re affected?
You can gather personal information of the owner and try to contact them. You can buy it if it’s up for sale.
You can also sue them under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) or seek action through Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The former option will cost more because of attorney fee, while the latter won’t offer monetary damages to you.
If you are yet to buy a domain name, get one soon. Don’t wait for a cybersquatter to make their move! Our domain registration services and affordable SSL certificates can make your website fully functional!