Some Observations on the Latest Cybersquatting Trend - Typosquatting and its Impact on Indian Cyberspace
Published and Presented at National Symposium on "Information and Communication Technologies for Disaster Management (ICTDM)" at 40th IETE Mid-Term Symposium, Chandigarh, India - 2009
Posted: 19 May 2013
Date Written: April 18, 2009
Information Technology and the explosion of Internet, being an expedient source for a wealth of information, have also given new avenues for clever entrepreneurs with malicious intent. Thus a new set of problems are being created by cybersquatters that need to be better addressed. The domain name/IP address system is essentially a global addressing system for contemporary internet use denoting the addresses of each computer connected to the Internet. Although it is not permissible to own, sell or use a domain name which contains a trademark owned by another person or company, there are ample cases of infringing domain names which may include intentional misspellings or opting confusingly similar names to confuse consumers for financial gains.
This paper intends to report latest type of Cybersquatting called Typosquatting and discusses its likely impact through traffic diversion and false association leading to considerable loss of revenue as well as customers. Typosquatters, in an attempt to gain traffic to their rogue websites, register common misspellings of domain names for popular websites and for variations of trademark. For example, the domain name of a well known recognized Indian financial company – Indiabulls is typosquatted as Indaibulls. This may lead to traffic diversion besides damaging reputation, lowering consumer confidence, hurting competitiveness and decreasing the market share. It certainly generates a good amount of revenue by producing advertising revenues using the brand name and diverted traffic. Such revenues can be utilized even for funding the terrorist activities. On top of it, many executives appear to be less sensitive with the problem of Cybersquatting. In spite of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), it is felt that this is high time that the Government of India must come out with domain name specific legislation to curb and prevent the growing menace of Cybersquatting by putting civil and criminal penalties.
Keywords: Cybersquatting, Typosquatting, UDRP, ICANN, Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, ACPA, NIXI
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