When the internet was still in its infancy and the dot-com boom had just begun, cybersquatting was a pretty common practice. Over the years it has gained a lot of infamy however, and nowadays things are not looking very good for cybersquatters.
But where exactly are the lines between cybersquatting and domaining? What is it that makes them differ from each other?
To put it simply, domaining is investing in domain names that might be deemed valuable by certain parties due to various factors.
On the other hand, cybersquatting involves buying up domain names in the form of trademarked company names or celebrity identities, and then selling it off to the trademark owner!
See the difference?
Admittedly in some lights you could look on cybersquatting as a form of illegitimate domaining. The fact that it is very often confused as an ‘ordinary practice’ in domaining has led to most domain investors automatically being associated with its bad reputation.
That being said, there is still room for honest domain investment, and you just need to know what is or is not permissible!
Lines of Legal Domain Investing
One of the best rules of thumb for legal domain investing is to steer clear of anything involving a trademark.
This includes the names of companies, products, celebrities and other personalities.
There was a time when some cybersquatters attempted to circumvent the legalities of the system by registering ‘typos’ of trademarked names. For example, instead of Apple.com, they would register Aple.com or Appel.com.
It is worth noting that this is not legal anymore. Recently in cases involving cybersquatters who owned ‘typo’ domain names, the trademark owner has won on account of these domains ‘diluting’ the trademark of the company or product.
What this means is that legal domain investors have very little that they can do with trademarked names, which is why it is best to just steer clear of them entirely.
Domaining legally as it exists today involves registering generic or geographically based names which do not infringe on any trademarks. The value of these domain names is based on their own merit, i.e. how short and generic they are, how easily they are to remember, and so on.
Going about domaining in this manner is perfectly legitimate, and it is unlikely that you’ll ever have any problems whatsoever with trademark laws if you do so.
To sum it all up: Cybersquatting could really land you into trouble nowadays. Pretty much every case out there involving cybersquatting has gone in favor of the trademark owner, which is all the more reason why it is best to keep your domaining within the limits and lines of legality!