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Prince George’s Domain…

…appears to be shrinking rapidly as cyber squatters rush to register domain names related to the royal baby.

According to reseller Names.co.uk, purchases of domain names containing the name George rose 106.9% after the announcement was made on Wednesday. Words such as baby, royal and HRH appeared repeatedly in domain names registered from 22nd – 25th July.

What is a Cyber squatter?

A cyber squatter is an individual who registers multiple domain names for resale, often at an extortionate price and usually connected to well-known brands or celebrities. It is referred to as squatting because, once registered, a person can keep a domain name indefinitely. This is a concern for companies or public figures keen to protect their image or brand. Imagine not being able to use your name as a domain name because someone else has registered it? It is also a concern for consumers who can be lured to fake websites with recognisable domain names – a trick known as phishing – for malicious reasons, usually the theft of payment details and bank funds.

Top Tips for Tackling Cyber Squatting:

There are many ways that you can combat this problem. Companies such as Google have pre-empted the problem by buying up negative domain names like GoogleSuck.com or domain names with misspellings of the brand name. This is a good preventative tactic but you could also:

  • Have a registered trademark, making it easier to take action against cyber squatters
  • If you don’t have a registered trademark then you could make a claim for “passing off”. In this situation, a squatter is making consumers believe that their site is the official site for a person or company. If the company or person has worked hard to build up a reputation or business and loss is suffered because the squatter is misleading people then a claim can be brought.
  • Make sure to renew your domain name on time – another preventative measure to ensure that others can’t steal it from you
  • Take the issue to a dispute resolution service. Nominet offer this service and resolve most cases with a two-step process using mediation. In more complicated cases, the complainant can seek the judgement of an independent expert.

In the case of Prince George, it seems that this is more a situation of making a profit from the resale of domain names. One of the domain names purchased has, for example, gone up for sale for £10,000; quite a princely sum!

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