J.K.Rowling has now officially announced that the latest, and last, in the Harry Potter series of books will be called ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ putting an end to the frenzy of speculation on the subject over the last few months. While it has been genuine fans interested in all things associated with their hero who have been speculating so far, you can bet that now the title is official there will be a new breed of speculator on the scene: the domain squatters.

With such a big franchise as Harry Potter, and searches on the final book and all things related to it almost certain to continue gaining momentum up to and beyond the date of publication, there is plenty of money to be made from diverting the unwary Internet tourist to an advert laden dummy site. But it would appear that efforts have already been made by the Christopher Little Literary Agency, which represents Rowling, to prevent this.

In what has most obviously been a very carefully planned game of cat and mouse, on the one hand wanting to protect the Harry Potter brand by registering the relevant domains, but at the same time not enabling anyone to jump the gun and use a WHOIS search to reveal the book title before the official announcement, a batch of domains were registered yesterday. These include deathlyhallows.com, deathlyhallows.info and harrypotterandthedeathlyhallows.com amongst many others covering a host of .com, .net and .info domains.

Even so, I was able to find numerous likely sounding domains still up for grabs such as deathlyhallowsblog.us and deathlyhallowshome.net for example, which I suspect won’t be around for much longer. Of course, the problem is that it is impossible to cover every variation on a brand name theme because it would cost too much and there really isn’t an obvious place to stop. The ridiculous number of domains doesn’t help either, or the fact that certain country level domains are easier to register with than others.

One thing is for sure though, many a big business could learn a thing or two from Harry Potter. How many times have you read of a company, and one that really should know better, having to chase someone through the courts or, just as often, dipping deep into their corporate wallets to pay off a domain squatter when it could easily have been avoided by a little advance planning?

Fortunately, it might not make any difference anyway as Rowling’s publishers and Warner Brothers, responsible for the highly lucrative Harry Potter movie franchise’ are likely to take a very aggressive approach with regard to challenging any squatters they come across. Unfortunately, as has happened all too often with other franchises, the chances are that genuine fans will get caught up in the crossfire.

That’s if they can find the time to go register a domain and build a website. I would have thought they would now be too busy discussing which two characters are going to meet a sticky end in the Deathly Hallows book now that Rowling has revealed a couple will die...

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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