The practice of registering domain names that are similar to registered trademarks, in the hope of selling them at a profit, is nothing new. “Domain squatting”, as the practice is known, has been around for almost as long as it has been possible to buy website addresses. However the forthcoming release of gTLD addresses has created a new problem for brands – “typosquatters”.
The prospect of thousands of new website addresses increases the potential for typographical errors from web surfers who enter the wrong URL. Typosquatters hope to capitalise on these mistakes, re-directing web users to their site where they will then earn a moderate income by displaying ads.
Last week, the gTLD “.club” was launched, with the owner of said extension, .Club LLC, hoping to launch their new site at nic.club shortly. .Club LLC also paid out a further $3500 for the nicclub.com website in the hope of preventing typosquatters taking advantage of people navigating to the wrong page. Where a surfer types nicclub into the browser bar and hits enter, they will be redirected to nicclub.com by default – and it is this behaviour that typosquatters hope to exploit.
Another 30 new gTLDs are due to go live in the foreseeable future and typosquatters have been actively trying to capitalise on them. .sexy, .tattoo, .graphics, .photography and .guru are all slated for imminent release – unsurprising then that nicsexy.com, nictattoo.com, nicgraphics.com, nicphotograpy.com and nicguru.com have all been registered, somewhat suspiciously by the same individual.
As a result, gTLD users may still have to buy more domain names than they originally intended.
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