Protect your Brand! - Don’t be a victim of Domain Hijacking!
Recently cases of domain name hijacking have hit the headlines so this article sets out to answer:
- What is domain name hijacking?
- How big is the problem and what can I do about it?
- What should I do to protect my business?
- What can I do if someone has hijacked a domain that should be mine?
- Can ph9 help?
Domain names have become serious trading commodities these days so it’s vitally important that you protect your brand as much as possible, or it could cost you dear in the future. You need more than one
Try and register all of the variants of your company name. For example ph9 own:-
- And the list goes on and on....
Ideally you would register the .co.uk and .com variant of your company name at the very least and also any close variations and common misspellings of your company name.
Domain Names Are Important
There are only so many names out there and with the whole world able to register domain names, they are going fast. Just like any commodity, if the demand goes up so does the price, in some cases the prices asked and paid are eye watering.
Here’s some facts:-
- The top price ever paid for just a domain name was $35,600,000 in 2010 for insurance.com
- The most paid so far for a UK domain name was for cruise.co.uk, sold in February 2008 for a meer £560,000
- In comparison a domain name that has never been registered costs (with ph9) from £19.99 depending on the extension.
So what is Domain Hijacking?
Simply put it’s the process of registering a domain name purely for financial gain and as you can see from the facts above, the gains can be massive.
How big is the problem and what can you do about it?
Nominet, the authority that oversees any domain name ending .uk and has the power to take control of .uk domain names if their dispute resolution service finds in favour of a complainant. So the good news is there is a prescribed procedure to follow if you feel you are the victim of Domain Name Hijacking.
There has been a case recently here in Derby (the home of ph9).
The case of derbyarena.co.uk caught the news, (click here for the full story on the BBC website) and Nominet found in favour of Derby City Council. A local resident, Ranmeet Ghuman, registered the name derbyarena.co.uk in January 2012, just days after Derby City Council unveiled plans for a new multi million pound sports venue. Mr Ghuman was found to have registered the domain name with the sole intention of selling it to Derby City Council and as such had his rights to the domain removed. Some might say that Derby City Council should have protected their brand identity prior to making a major announcement but I suppose they just wanted to get the news out!
Another recent, high profile case is Disney v Joker’s Masquerade, a Berkshire Based fancy dress hire company - Full Story is HERE.
But it’s not all the big companies / Councils beating down the little guys, there is case after case of victories where there are legitimate complaints, it's just that the large companies hit the headlines.
Here’s some more facts:
The graphic below shows the number of Complaints made over the past 5 years.
- In 2014 55% of all complaints were upheld and resulted in the domain being transferred to the complainant.
- Nominet claim that their Dispute Resolution Service saved businesses £7,500,000 in court costs in 2014.
- The graphic below shows the average time it takes to resolve a complaint (not as long as you might think!)
What Should I Do To Protect My Business?
1. Check your business/trading name doesn’t conflict with any registered businesses or trademarks.
2. Buy all the available variations of your business name possible but as a minimum secure the .co.uk and .com variants.
3. Build into your Company Marketing plan to register close variations and common misspellings of your company name or brand as soon as possible if you can’t afford to do it straight away.
4. Keep up your renewals. Most domains are registered for just 1 or 2 years at a time
What can I do if someone has hijacked a domain that should be mine?
Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service can help for .co.uk Domains, further information can be found here: http://www.nominet.org.uk/disputes
Before making a complaint, you must be able to prove that you have either suffered a direct loss or that that the person who has registered the domain has done so purely for their own financial gain from your business. Ideally you will be able to prove how your business directly relates to the domain name in question.
Can ph9 Help?
As an official Nominet Registrar we are able to discuss your complaint with Nominet on your behalf. We cannot give you any direct advice or make decisions for you, but we are able to assist you through the process. Unfortunately we can only help in cases where the complainant is a customer of ph9.