The internet enables us to hide away all by ourselves and still interact with the whole wide world. This technology allows us to feel socially comforted in times of loneliness, to conveniently access important information from almost anywhere and much more. Unfortunately, it also strips away many of the consequences of actions that would never be acceptable face-to-face. One prime example of this is cybersquatting.
Cybersquatting is the practice of registering trademarks as web domains with no intention of using them, in the hopes that the owner of the trademark will buy the domains from you at a much higher price. Companies can invest millions of dollars in the development of a brand, so if they have to pay a little extra to get the right address for their website, they may just shoulder the burden of the extra cost and fork out the cash. A real life version of cybersquatting would be comparable to cutting someone in line at a store, ordering the rest of what that person was intending to purchase, and then turning around and saying “Sorry, I got here first… Is this what your company was looking for? I’ll sell it to you for an unnecessarily high price!” Sure, you might make some money off your actions, but you certainly aren’t going to make any friends. It’s essentially a new age form of blackmail.
There are a couple exceptions. It doesn’t count as cybersquatting if you purchased the domain and actually used it. It also doesn’t count if you never used it but you really did mean to. Cybersquatters tend to snap up a large amount of URLs, playing the numbers game, hoping that eventually someone will come along needing one or more of them. Another unfriendly practice is domain kiting, which you may remember from one of our previous blog articles.