Why you probably don’t need to worry about cybersquatting on new top level domains

The amount of cybersquatting won’t increase much with new top level domains coming to market.

One of the biggest worries trademark owners have about new top level domain names is that they’ll have to fight more cybersquatting battles as a result.

But this one simple graph from WIPO shows that history tells us not to worry so much about it:

This graph shows the breakdown of gTLD UDRP filings at WIPO last year. As you can see, almost all the action is in .com.

Now, you can point out that there are a lot fewer .info and .biz domains registered, and that’s why the numbers are skewed this way.

You’re right. In fact, the ratio of domains registered to UDRP’s filed in .com, .net, .org, and .info is right around 30,000 to 1. (.biz and .mobi have ratios closer to 50,000 to 1).

Yet that also kind of proves the point.

Most of these new top level domains will be small.

If the domains don’t get much type in traffic (which they won’t) and aren’t in an identical field (like the oft mentioned example nike.shoes), there’s not much to worry about.

Should Nike worry about Nike.actor?


“But what if someone starts selling fake Nike’s on it?”

That’s no harder than selling fakes on nike.somefreehost.com. The consumer doesn’t really realize the URL they’re visiting most of the time. That’s why phishing attempts just use similar looking domains to trick people.

I’m not saying there won’t be more tracking and enforcement necessary in the new age of hundreds of gTLDs. But it won’t be the end of the world.


  1. says

    At the risk of sounding like a dick, haven’t you said on many occasions, most recently last week, that UDRP cases are a poor way to judge the prevalence of cybersquatting?


  2. says

    The prevalence of typo domaining will vary depending on the niche and the brands. I generally agree that we won’t see it with the same scale as in the .com segment but any typo domainers that are making good EPC now (especially high EPC typo domain affiliates) will continue to expand in the new TLD’s where it makes sense.

    For example, mcafee.com has about 109 .com typo domains at the moment. Most of them are managed via CitizenHawk but not all – in fact this AM I found one within 4 minutes that is clearly an affiliate of mcafee.com and NOT under CitizenHawk’s control.

    It uses an intelligent scheme so if you don’t catch it the first time you won’t on second try – will appear to be a generic ppc lander.

    So if you are that affiliate, don’t you think you’ll start registering some of the common typos of mcafee.antivirus, when .antivirus comes out?

    The spread of cybersquatting is a question of ROI – it will depend mainly on the cost of those new TLD domains but if they are low enough to try for a year and not get caught, then brands should watch out. Especially brands with affiliate programs where the EPC can be very high.

  3. says

    Andrew … This is a good point!

    “The consumer doesn’t really realize the URL they’re visiting most of the time. That’s why phishing attempts just use similar looking domains to trick people.”

    Fortunately, ICANN have recently been compelled to take action and will be more careful in the future.

    The phishing pond offered by fake ccTLDs is very nearly gone and should be history by July.

    Cheers, Graham.

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