Guarding your online brand against cybersquatters

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If you had a business called Widgets R Us and somebody set up shop right next door with a business called Widgets R U, you’d probably be a bit miffed.

Especially if the interloper then demanded money to move elsewhere.

cybersquatters: But this sort of thing is happening all the time online. It’s called cybersquatting – buying up website addresses, or domain names, that sound very similar to existing well-known brand names.

When Google recently launched its new parent company Alphabet, and the abc.xyz web address, there were more than 20,000 registrations by people attempting to take advantage, registering names like googlefiber.xyz or googledocs.xyz.

Simply buying up lots of addresses that are variations of your brand name is one option. But this can get expensive for a small business, as domains can vary in price from 99p to several thousand pounds.

Mike McLaughlin, senior vice president of domains at GoDaddy, a web hosting company, says: “Really, nobody has to go out and buy hundreds [of domain names] across their brands and keywords to protect themselves.

“Be thoughtful about the handful of names that are most important to you and think about registering those – ones that if you saw in the hands of your closest competitor, you wouldn’t be happy about it.”

Adapted from BBC

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