Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cybersquatting of New Domain Names

Here’s some interesting news: The likelihood of cybersquatting remains high for .com's but is much less ICANN’s new domains. According to a recent study by a top-level domain (TLD) consulting firm called Minds+Machines, internet domains other than .com (such as .net, .biz and .info) aren’t currently pursued by cybersquatters. Furthermore, the study suggests that the new assortment of generic top-level domains (gTLD’s), recently created by ICANN will not attract cybersquatters either. These domains include .mobi, .cat, .name, .asia, .pro, .tel and .travel.

The study was conducted thusly: Minds+Machines examined domain name registration of more than 1,000 Fortune 100 brands. They reason that if a trademark name is available at a domain, neither the company nor cybersquatters are concerned with the open real estate. The danger of trademark infringement is assumed to be low, given the apparent lack of interest in the site. According to the study, 100 percent of the companies were registered in .com sites. The already-established gTLD’s outside of .com (.org, .net, .biz and .info) had between 65 and 87 percent name registration. The new categories mentioned above had less than 30 percent registration.

These numbers do show that cybersquatting is an issue in the .com category. However, they fail to prove anything about the future of internet domain value. Will these new domains continue to be ignored in the long term? It’s hard to say. Current internet patterns may not be indicative of the future. Fifteen years ago, could anyone have predicted the current power of social media?