Cybersquatting research continues to show the importance of protecting your business’ domain name. The domain name of your website is crucial because it functions as your online identity, making it is easy for individuals to locate you on the world wide web. Because there is no way to protect unregistered domains, they are often vulnerable to cybersquatting.

What is Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting is the act of purchasing a domain similar to a well-known domain. Typically, the purpose of cybersquatting is to drive accidental traffic to a similar site. From there, individuals can access or information from users. They can also hold the domain ransom, requiring the known domain owner to purchase it. As you can see, cybersquatting research helps us understand the negative impact on businesses and how we can recognize cybersquatting.

Internet Cybersquatting

Internet cybersquatting is the process of searching for and purchasing domains similar to popular or trademarked domains. Websites like GoDaddy make cybersquatting easy by allowing individuals to create nearly identical domains. Most top-level domains will end in “.com” so the same domain name ending in “.org,” “.net,” or “.biz” is a common target. Another common internet cybersquatting tactic is to purchase the same domain but with a small typo or spelling variation. Things like using “ie” instead of “y,” or a “z” ending instead of an “s” ending are popular cybersquatting techniques.

How Can We Recognize Cybersquatting

The easiest way to recognize cybersquatting is with knowledge. Knowing the real domain name can help you spot a fake. GoDaddy and other domain registers are helpful tools for cybersquatting research. First, search for popular cybersquatting targets whether it be similar spellings or different address endings. Next, once you have a list of potential domains that individuals use for cybersquatting, visit the domains. Visiting the potential cybersquatting domain is the easiest way to tell if the site is legitimate or not.

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Cybersquatting Research

When visiting a potential cybersquatting domain, there are a few things you’ll want to notice first. Initially, you’ll want to see if the domain actually displays an active webpage or not. If not, someone is most likely using the domain to generate traffic to a false site. Next, if the page is active, check to see what type of content they are displaying. A webpage that is full of nothing but advertisements or has limited content is another sign of cybersquatting. Sometimes, the domain actually belongs to a legitimate business. Because the internet is growing and so are online businesses, smaller organizations have to get creative with their domain names.

In order to protect your business’ domain name, it’s important to conduct cybersquatting research, or spend time reading the research of others. Knowing how to recognize cybersquatting can keep your online identity protected. Cybersquatting research will allow you to develop a plan for how to prevent cybersquatting.