Microsoft goes on the offensive against cybersquatters

Written by Ryan Garside

August 23, 2006 // 11:44 a.m.

Tags: #cyber #cybersquatterstyposquatters #microsoft #squatters #typo #websites #windows

Microsoft has filed three lawsuits against 'cybersquatters' - a term used to define somebody who hopes to profit illegally through online advertising such as Google's pay-per-click service.

Due to the massive increase in revenue from online advertising Microsoft has found itself the target of trademark infringement. The cybersquatters simply register domain names such as: http://msnfinance.com/, http://xbox36com.com/ and http://microsoftrebate.com/ and then hope that people at home accidentally stumble onto the site and then click the advertising links. Microsoft is claiming that the cybersquatters are now registering more than 2,000 domains a day.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is finding it difficult to catch the criminals - as many use privacy services to disguise their identities. However, according to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. of 1999, which makes it illegal for people to register domain names that imitate established companies names, Microsoft are well within their rights to complain about the situation.

At the moment Microsoft haven't targeted any big companies, if that were to happen then this would almost certainly become a far bigger issue. Danny Sullivan, a Web search industry analyst, said this:

Going after people with a domain name is no big deal. If Microsoft did go after someone like Google or Yahoo and said 'We're going to sue you because you are not being responsible enough for keeping that stuff out of there,' that's more going to the source."

What would happen if Google and Microsoft clashed over this issue? Give us your predicition over in the forums.

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