An interesting thing came up today when a small company approached me in an interest to transfer their web site responsibilities to me as they were unhappy with the service that they are currently receiving from a certain company. At first I tried to visit the site, but it appeared to be down as I was unable to access it. After briefly looking at their current situation and status of their web site, it appeared that they overlooked the fact that they had to renew their domain and that their company domain address had actually expired. To make things worse, another person had registered it and considering the name is rather specific to the company, there isnâ€™t really any valid reason for another person to have it. Although I hope everything will work out, I hope the person doesnâ€™t turn out to be a cybersquatter who is going to try and demand a lot of money to get the domain back.
A cybersquatter is basically a person who registers domain names using well known company and product brand names and then attempts to profit from it by selling it back to companies who legitimately owns rights to the product brands and name. Although I havenâ€™t really seen too many incidents of cybersquatting nowadays, it was very rampant before, since there were so many domain names that were available for registration, with the most common scenario being adult site operators registering popular names of companies and cartoon characters so that when a person decides to type in the name to see if a site exists, the unsuspecting Internet surfer would be redirected to a page filled with pornographic media and other adult only material. Fortunately, there are now laws that prosecute people for doing this.
While this wasnâ€™t cybersquatting, one of the most famous examples of users typing in popular phrases and finding something irrelevant was with the domain extension â€œwhitehouse.comâ€ which was originally registered by a person named Dan Parisi. While most would assume that it would be government related such as â€œwhitehouse.govâ€, it actually led to an adult site which contained pornographic material. There were some extreme examples that I read such as a teacher in school that was attempting to show the class on how to use the Internet and upon entering whitehouse.com the entire class was greeted with all of the unsuspecting adult material. As of today if you go there though, there are nothing but generic ads. An interesting bit though was that the original owner of the site was making about one million dollars US a year due to the amount of site traffic that it generated.
Is it all worth it? Well, in the case of cybersquatting I would hope that all of the laws in place will prevent these types of things from happening. For people who redirect popular phrases to adult sites, I guess that comes down to ones moral beliefs. I personally think these types of methods are like spamming which affect too many people in a negative way to justify doing.