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.

News Around the Web