Names.co.uk, one of the UK’s top domain name registrars, has today revealed research finding that Call of Duty and other major video game franchises have become the latest victims of cybersquatting. Activision, makers of Call of Duty Black Ops II, have lost www.callofdutyblackops2.com
to a blogger and even the popular nickname for the series www.cod.com
is parked with adverts as millions of people search for the franchise online.
In addition, Rockstar games, makers of Grand Theft Auto V, have missed out on www.gtav.com
which is owned by a GTA fan. They own www.gta5.com
but have lost control of their series, with opportunist cybersquatters holding gta6.com and gtavi.com to ransom.
Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for Names.co.uk, explains the findings: “Video games are now one of the biggest entertainment mediums with the original Call of Duty Black Ops passing over the Billion dollar mark, according to Activision. It’s a shame that with video games such big business these games makers have overlooked protecting their brand online and owning the .com and .co.uk names for the inevitable sequels to their hit series.”
“Hollywood movie houses are often more careful about controlling their online brands. Disney has kept the Toy Story franchise online by protecting the domains toystory4.com and toystory5.com long before these sequels are even officially announced. We believe your name is important to you and that the video games industry needs to take seriously its major titles and make sure future sequels are protected online from cybersquatters.”
Other popular games franchises have also struggled to keep key domain names:
• halo4.com is protected, but Microsoft have lost out on halo4.co.uk which describes itself as ‘the unofficial halo website.’ halo4.net is also taken.
• Action game Uncharted has lost all its web addresses for its series from uncharted.com to uncharted3.com
• needforspeed.com is squatted, but EA do own the rights to needforspeedmostwanted.com for their new title
• Even huge retro game icons are cybersquatted with www.mariobros.com
and www.sonicthehedgehog.co.uk taken. www.megaman.com
is also filled with adverts.
These tech companies are not, however, alone in losing their domain name disputes. Apple issued legal action to claim back itunes.co.uk (Source: www.out-law.com/page-5391
). More recently, in July 2012, Microsoft won back key domains regarding Xbox 8, Xbox Phone and & Xbox Tablet from a Chinese cybersquatter who had beaten the company to the address.
Sally Tomkotowitz, customer acquisition manager, for names.co.uk, added: “These massive companies losing control of key domains issues a good reminder to small businesses that they need to make sure their company names and key products are protected too.”
names.co.uk provides professional online services for businesses and individuals including Web Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Email services, Ecommerce solutions and Business Servers. names.co.uk has over 15 years’ experience in the Internet industry and employs a team of nearly 200 expertly trained individuals across the UK.
names.co.uk is part of the Dada Group, an international group of companies who specialise in providing professional Internet services. As a group, they currently have over 1.7million domains registered and over 480,000 clients using their products and services.
For more information please see www.names.co.uk