What Is Reverse Domain Hijacking?

Jun 2 09:18 2011 Michael Bloch Print This Article

In normal cybersquatting incidents, a party registers a domain name in bad faith, knowing that the registration will negatively impact another party through infringing on their brand. A reverse domain hijacking occurs when the owner of a brand attempts to gain control of a domain name legitimately registered by another party through making false claims against the registrant.

Reverse domain hijacking is also known as reverse cybersquatting.

In normal cybersquatting incidents,Guest Posting a party registers a domain name in bad faith, knowing that the registration will negatively impact another party through infringing on their brand.

For example, a cybersquatter may register a misspelling of a popular domain with the intention of selling it to the brand owner at a greatly inflated price. Alternatively, the cybersquatting registrant may run advertising on a site associated with the name, and usually to divert traffic from the brand owner to a competitor - or their own competing business.

A reverse domain hijacking occurs when the owner of a brand attempts to gain control of a domain name legitimately registered by another party through making false claims against the registrant.

An example of reverse cybersquatting may be where a web site has been in existence for many years under a generic word based domain and a new business starts up under the same or similar name. The owner of the new business discovers they cannot register the domain as it is already taken and threatens the registrant with litigation.

There have also been cases where companies with deep pockets have filed complaints under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (often referred to as the "UDRP") simply because they want a particular name; even if it's not closely aligned with their brand or any of their products or services.

Even if the brand owner doesn't have a substantial and legitimate case, the threat of legal proceedings can sometimes be enough to scare the registrant into settling out of court or outside the UDRP - or the equivalent of the policy in relation to country code Top Level Domains - which may involve the transfer of the domain name to the complainant.

The UDRP contains no real punishment or penalty to prevent or deter reverse domain hijacking aside from it being noted in case files, which are available to the public, that the complaint was lodged in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.

The registrant needs to rely on the UDRP process to establish that they did not register the name in bad faith and/or the name does not infringe on the complainant's trademarks. Unfortunately, should the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy process fail in this respect, while there are other avenues for contesting the decision, they are extremely expensive.

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About Article Author

Michael Bloch
Michael Bloch

Michael Bloch is an Australia-based online business consultant with many years of experience in the web hosting and domain name services industry. Michael is currently consulting for Domain Registration Services, who have been providing domain names registration services since 1998. Start your domain name search now.

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