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In today’s digital world, companies can quickly reach millions of customers. However, it has also affected the methods with which crime and fraud are committed. Why bother with putting on a balaclava, steal some automatic weapons and having a really fast getaway car when you can achieve the same thing with the use of a cheap domain name?

In this article I am summarizing a new method based on a study conducted by EUIPO (the EU’s intellectual property organisation) that are focusing on my favourite subject, e-commerce.

Background

A domain name is the most business critical intellectual property asset that a company can own. If a domain name does not work, the website and email will not work either. Put very simply, you can neither sell to nor communicate with your customers. We don’t need to go much deeper than that, just state that the renewal of a domain name is something that can’t be neglected.

An e-commerce company usually has many more than just one domain name, for example for the countries they sell to. A normal domain name portfolio for a middle-sized e-commerce company should consist of a minimum of 50 domain names. This means that there are at least 50 different renewals to keep track of each year. To add insult to injury, unexperienced e-commerce companies tend to put this responsibility on the poor old IT-department, instead of outsourcing the responsibility to a trustworthy external partner. I can imagine you are now grasping the basis of the problem and why it’s fairly easy for fraudsters to steal your domain names.

The Swedish site Ehandel.se was one of the first to write about pirate sites last year. Their article was however aimed at the African pirate sites that are hijacking google ads with the intent of luring your customers to their fake copy of your website. Whatever the intent, the methods are basically the same. During the past autumn, the EU intellectual property organisation EUIPO has conducted a study on how this is carried out. According to EUIPO, the most common example is registering another top-level domain (for example .COM instead of .SE) which they in turn launch a fake web site on.

How can this affect you? Loosing a domain name with it’s associated email and web site is business critical enough for doing everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen. Usually this can be sorted within a few days, if you’re lucky. However, if someone “re-registers” your domain name and launch a fake website on it that deceives your customers, the trust your brand has gained can be lost for a long time, maybe forever.

How we can help you prevent this:

  • Avoid having someone in-house being responsible for your renewals, outsource it to a full service solution.
  • Use a domain name watch service to review domain name registrations that are identical or potentially confusingly similar to your brand.
  • Avoid high costs and bad-will by reviewing your Website Compliance in order to make sure your e-commerce is compliant with all laws and regulations.
  • Is the damage already done? Contact us today and we will formulate an action plan based on your specific needs.

 

Sources:
Ehandel.se
EUIPO

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