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Cybersquatters first to profit from UK iPhone launch

As iPhone hype mounts domain name speculators pounce.

September 26, 2007; 06:20 AM
Last week's much anticipated announcement of the launch date and operator of Apple's iPhone has been dealt a blow even before the launch has actually taken place. The announcement was eagerly awaited by a number of cybersquatters who have snapped up key domain names ahead of the announcement of the iPhone’s exclusive UK operator.

A spate of cybersquatting has taken place over the past few months as speculation mounted on the launch of the iPhone and who the chosen UK operator would be, with cybersquatters registering valuable domains relating to the iPhone and major UK mobile operators and linking them to lucrative Google-style pay-per-click advertising.

One cybersquatter has been working over the last few months looking to snap up as many operator related iPhone domains as possible including, and All of these domain names point to websites that feature pay-per-click advertising, some even offering international unlocked iPhones, making money on misdirected consumers. Meanwhile numerous other domain names have been snapped up by cybersquatters in anticipation of the launch, including,,, and

In the current online threat environment, incidents of cybersquatting continue to increase in frequency, making it paramount for organisations and brands to look at as many variables as possible when it comes to protecting their domain name portfolios.

Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames, which manages the domain name portfolios for a third of the FTSE 100 companies comments, “The iPhone launch is one of the biggest product launches of 2007 and has been just as eagerly anticipated by cybersquatters as it has by consumers. Cybersquatters have spent a great deal of time over the past few months securing as many iPhone and operator domain name combinations as possible based on speculation about the launch.”

Robinson adds: “Online reputation is of the utmost importance to major international technology brands, yet many still overlook the threat from cybersquatters, leaving their online reputations open to an untold amount of damage."

This latest cybersquatting incident follows on the back of high profile celebrity brands like David Beckham, David Cameron, Prince William and Kate Middleton being targeted online in recent months.

About NetNames

NetNames is part of London listed Group NBT plc (LSE: NBT). Through its industry leading domain name management service, NetNames Platinum Service, the company is responsible for managing and protecting online brands for international corporates, including in excess of 30% of the FTSE 100. The company provides domain names, website hosting and email services for a range of customers - from the home user up to enterprise level. NetNames is an ICANN Accredited Registrar with the ability to register domain names in all available suffixes worldwide. The company is headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Nice, Frankfurt and Madrid. For further information, visit

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