public relations: December 2008 Archives


photo courtesy of Giant Ginkgo

Last week was pretty good for Illuminati Karate, a web developer in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company snapped up an expired web domain for $10 and resold it for a profit of $34,990.

The domain? The library's online vendor, Yuma Solutions, carelessly let the domain expire. And Yuma should have known better. It initially bought the domain for $3,000 - from yet another squatter.

 Welcome to the wild world of online identity, where seemingly anyone can appropriate a brand's name. Don't think it can happen to your company? Consider the threats:

• Cybersquatting, which occurs when someone purchases a domain that points to your brand, such as the example above. While there are laws against cybersquatting, it can be expensive and time consuming to win. And the so-called squatter may have a legitimate right to the name. In the early days of the Internet, a jazz club in New York called The Blue Note was outraged to discover that someone had already purchased the domain The owner, a music club in Columbia, Missouri, felt it had a legitimate right to the name. It, too, was The Blue Note. The New York club had to take legal action in Missouri, where it lost.

• Typosquatting, in which competitors purchase domains that are similar to a legitimate one in order to redirect traffic. For example, you could purchase and receive a fair number of visits from sloppy typists who meant to do a Google search.

• Phishing, in which a malicious web site poses as a well-established brand and solicits personal information. Phishing schemes typically target companies with online ecommerce, such as banks and credit card companies.

• Brandjacking, in which someone poses as your company in any online exchange. This can include popular social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. Not long ago, a woman calling herself Janet set up the account ExxonMobilCorp on the Twitter microblogging site. She answered questions and shared expertise about her company, including the observation that the Exxon Valdez was not one of the worst 10 oil spills. The problem? Janet was not an ExxonMobil employee. While her account has been shut down, to this day no one knows who she was.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the public relations category from December 2008.

public relations: October 2008 is the previous archive.

public relations: February 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en
Lijit Search