Cybersquatters have been quick to register key domain names relating to Pasta Hut, following the news of Pizza Hut's rebrand.
Major web addresses including Pastahut.net, Pastahut.info and Pastahut.org have been registered and the sites filled with Google-style pay-per-click links, according to domain name specialist NetNames.
Pastahut.com has been registered by someone who has listed contact details on the site, probably with a view to selling the domain to the highest bidder.
However, Pizza Hut has already secured Pastahut.co.uk, which ranks first on Google for the search team 'pasta hut' while the other sites do not appear on the first search results page.
Pizza Hut is temporarily changing its name to Pasta Hut to highlight its eight new pasta dishes, with nine restaurants changing their signage immediately.
The pizza chain plans to invest £100m over the next six years to revamp its 700 restaurants in the UK but according to NetNames it has overlooked implementing a solid online brand protection strategy by not registering some of its most valuable domains.
The Pasta Hut site provides information about its new pasta dishes and a poll for viewers to vote on whether they prefer the new name or would rather stick with the old one.
Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer of NetNames, said: "It never fails to surprise us how quick off the mark cybersquatters are to register the domains of major brands where given the opportunity.
"The UK subsidiary of Pizza Hut will have spent much time and money planning for this rebrand, however they have failed to register some of the key domain names relating to their online brand."
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