Cybersquatters first to profit from UK iPhone launch
As iPhone hype mounts domain name speculators pounce.
September 26, 2007; 06:20 AM
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 www.o2iphone.co.uk, www.o2iphone.net and www.orangeiphone.co.uk. 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 www.ukiphone.co.uk,
www.tmobileiphone.com, www.02iphone.co.uk, and www.iphonevodafone.co.uk.
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.
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 www.netnames.com.
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