RealTime IT News

Top U.K. Brands Are Vulnerable on the Web, Says Registrar

[London, ENGLAND] Domain name registrar Netnames has revealed that the ten most valuable brands in the U.K. are perilously unprotected on the Web, two of them having failed even to register their own .co.uk domain names.

At this advanced stage in the Web's development it would appear to be a very straightforward and obvious strategy for top brands to register .net and .co.uk domain names as well as .com. Yet out of the top ten U.K. brands only three had registered their name with the .net suffix.

Even worse, according to NetNames -- which admittedly has an interest in firms registering as many names as possible -- is the failure of U.K. brands to register common misspellings of their names, thus leaving themselves vulnerable to so-called "typosquatters."

Another vulnerability is suffered by brands that have two-word names -- and NetNames found that only one of the four companies with two-word names had registered both hyphenated and non-hyphenated variations.

Jonathan Robinson, chief executive of NetBenefit, NetNames' parent company, warned that the results were very worrying because they show that even the largest U.K. companies are failing to protect their Internet identities.

"These are the companies with the most to lose. It only costs a few pounds to register a domain name and to point it to your existing site. To recover one from a cybersquatter can cost thousands of pounds and potential lost revenue from Web surfers unable to find your site is incalculable," said Robinson.

The scenario is made worse by the fact that more top level domains -- such as the recently announced .eu domain which will become available in 2001 -- are coming onto the market. TV brands, for example, should take note of the .tv extension that comes courtesy of Tuvalu in the South Pacific and is being marketed by DotTV.

Jonathan Robinson claims that NetNames has developed a groundbreaking system for online brand management that can help avoid all the potential pitfalls awaiting the unwary brand manager. It is launching a total brand management platform called Domain Name Registration System (DNRS) to help corporations protect their trademarks and brand names on the Web.

DNRS enables users to set up and manage the service on their domain name, checking the progress of domain name orders and searching for availability in all 250 top level domains.

Indeed, it has never been easier to register typosqwatter.co.uk.