Cybersquatting or domain name squatting is something that needs special consideration as it has gained immense popularity in the world of cyber crime in the last two decades with the growing popularity of Internet. But before knowing anything, the foremost thing that you should know is what exactly cybersquatting is. Cybersquatting means buying a domain name which is, by no means, related to the business of the buyers in order to sell them to the company which needs it most so that more profit can be gained from the company to whom they are selling the domain name. Those who are engaged with this job are called cybersquatters. Cybersquatters make incredible amount of money with this incredible strategy of theirs. They sell the domain names which they have registered a long time back to the unfortunate visitors who are in search for a unique domain name with an intention to spread their business in the online market. The only intention of the cybersquatters is to achieve financial gain from the hapless customers.
Methods that Help Cybersquatters Obtain Huge Gain
One of the most important methods, with the help of which the squatters can make money off is by selling the domain names of the “legal” owners. For example, if any well-known company like Apple were compelled to buy a domain name Apple.com, they would have paid millions of dollars for it. No large companies are willing to lose domain names that go best with their content. And as a result of this, it is the cybersquatters who make profits in between of all. But the real problem is faced by the new individuals or companies that get them introduced with the online world. What these cyber squatters do is to purchase the domain names relevant to these companies and make huge profit by selling those domain names at a higher price to them. Another strategy that these squatters use is to get hold of a domain name and gain benefits from the online visitors who visit to that website to purchase something. But how? Here is an example for you. Suppose Jack Freud is a local but popular hairstylist but he has no website. So these squatters purchase a domain name JackFreud.com and creates a website in his name to sell some products which are completely different from his field or to gain profit from advertising. So when the online visitors do an internet search with his name, this website, which has been created by these cybersquatters, gets opened up to them. In this way the cyber squatters make money and get popularity.
Some Tips that Enable you to Recognize Cybersquatting
The most important thing that will help you to get to know about whether a domain name is handled by a cyber squatter is to check where this domain name leads you. If you don’t get a functioning site while using this domain name and if it takes you to a site that states “under construction,” or “the server is not found” or “domain name for sale”, then remember that all these are the indications to get in to a deal with a cybersquatter. The only intention of the owner of this site is to buy domain name and sell it at a huge price to have enormous gain. Absence of a website with this domain name does not always mean that it has been monitored by a cybersquatter. It may also indicate that the owner of this site has a genuine plan to start his online business later. If domain name takes you to a functioning site that comprises of advertisements for services and products, then you are surely about to come in contact with cybersquatters. For instance if you are a renowned audio-visual services company and the site that you encounter is about selling the audio-visual products of other’s company then it is very likely that a cybersquatter is operating this site and making money off with the help of your company’s popularity by selling Google ads to your contemporaries. It is not the case of cybersquatting when a functional site that uses a domain name that is related to your company name or your content if it does not sell or advertise the similar products as your company. For instance, your brand name is Henry Wales that sells computer machines and you come in contact with www.henrywales.com which is a website for road cleaning machines, then this site is not operated by a cybersquatter. Contacting the domain name owner will be a better option before coming to any conclusion and you can do this by using “WHOIS Lookup” at whois.net. This enables you to know the perfect explanation of using this domain name and to purchase the domain name at your will price. But sometimes, paying a cybersquatter for a domain name is cheaper, easier and faster than filing a lawsuit for getting a domain name and waiting for your turn for hearing.
How you can Fight Back a Cybersquatter
In the United States, these cybersquatters can be punished with the help of Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). These acts have come into being in order to take right steps against these squatters. It has been recommended by numerous trademark experts that the ICANN arbitration system is quicker and inexpensive than the ACPA in suing these cyber criminals or squatters. No attorney or lawyer is needed to file a case against squatters with the help of ICANN procedure. Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act has also been introduced by Senator Spencer Abraham, a Michigan Republican. According to this act, the squatters if they are found guilty must pay a fine of up to $300,000. But if the accused squatter proves that he has a reason to buy the domain name for which he has been accused and he has no intention to sell this to another buyer for his profit then he/she will be set free and allowed to keep the domain name with him.
Despite taking initiatives in this regard, every year more than 2000 cases get filed against domain name squatters. Nearly 85% of these filed cases proved true and the domain name is transferred to the rightful owner. This implies that there is innumerable number of cybersquatters that gets emerged every year and most of them have not come to the public eye. Their numbers are obviously beyond our expectations. They are running their business without anyone’s knowledge and obtaining tremendous profit illegally.