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Cybersquatting amidst Bank Mergers

will they ever learn ...

     
8:21 am on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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... that they should buy the domain name BEFORE the deal is announced :)

Internet addresses corresponding to recent bank mergers are already being hoarded and sold online.

In "cybersquatting", likely addresses are bought cheaply in the hope of selling to the businesses involved, or as a medium for advertising.

Domain names for the merged Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as well as for Lloyds TSB/HBOS have been snapped up.

In one case, the domain name has already been listed on eBay, with the site directing visitors to the auction.


[news.bbc.co.uk...]

[edited by: engine at 1:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 18, 2008]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]

9:31 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They have lawyer teams to recover whatever domain they want regarding his trademarks.

When I readed the thread topic, my first thought was you were talking about these people who register trademarked names and finally learn a hard lesson from the big corporation´s world and why you better do not put your finger in the eye of a 900 lbs. gorilla.

9:47 am on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The trouble with buying the domain in advance is that it rather hints that somebody thinks the deal is happening. Somebody should be sitting with a clock to make the purchase at exactly the right time.

Of course somebody should also ensure that the prospective domain isn't in legit use already.

I do wonder if the cybersquatters didn't leak this themselves as the addresses have been published by the news networks. With a boost like that they would expect a decent amount of traffic to click on their ads.

2:25 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The trouble with buying the domain in advance is that it rather hints that somebody thinks the deal is happening. Somebody should be sitting with a clock to make the purchase at exactly the right time.

Agree with you there, piatkow. One of the whois db provider has a very useful service that lets you track company registrations by company name. You could for example track domains bought by G and anticipate their next move. The solution: buy the domain anonymously so people will have to gamble with their money as the registrant is not guaranteed to be someone close to the issue.

Lexur, the problem is that when you are in financial difficulties, having to spend $$,$$$ - in lawyer fees or otherwise - to get back a domain that you could have protected with $ seems like bad planning. But one could argue what's $$,$$$ in the $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$ hole they've got in their pocket already :(

3:05 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Let me see who shall I upset today - I know, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, those are nice people to annoy whilst I sit in my basement of power.
5:59 pm on Sept 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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HAHA, I'm sorry, but: bankofamericamerrilllynch is just plain funny.
6:02 am on Sept 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hmm going up a gainst a bank with Billions in assets when your Job Blogs in podunk town hoping to make a few $thousand, isnt worth it, surely they can see that.
4:57 am on Sept 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Registering domains names for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch is moronic.
Listing them on ebay is even more moronic and the sign of a complete amateur.
Look at the completed listing on ebay for domains, they never sell for more than a few dollars.
There's also a big security issue with spoofing a bank by having a domain name with it's name in it that could be used for phising. Very stupid.

However it's one thing when there are existing registered trademarks but I am tired of generic complaints about "cybersquatting" when one of the two things happens:

1. someone lets a domain name lapse for FOURTY FIVE days (that's how long it takes to drop) and someone else registers it - that's not cybersquatting just because you used it - you neglected it beyond the terms of your lease, it's not yours anymore. What do you think would happen to your car if you didn't pay the bill for 45 days?

2. some moronic business announces they are going to make/buy/create a product XYZ in the world news which they have planned for months, yet have not patented or trademarked it and they don't secure all they need to manage it (which includes online assests) and they don't register XYZ.com

If McDonalds went on your local TV station and announced they were going to build a new location a block away from you, and you walk down to the block that's empty and see that they have not even bought the property yet, do you:

1. say OH, I better help out the Fortune 500 company and tell them they haven't bought the assets they need yet for their highly profitable growth

2. I better buy the property and give it to them at cost since they already announced what they want to do - just saying what they want gives them ownership in the capitalistic business world

3. Buy the property yourself and let them either pick another property or sell it to them at a markup

Seriously, which one of the three? Are you a mean squatter or a clever speculator if you buy it?

Most domains cost less than $10 to register - what's the excuse for a multi-BILLION dollar company not to secure an asset? Ignorance? It's 2008, not 1998.

You can do TEN YEAR registrations for $65-70 (or less) these days. If your domain name is that important to you and you have $70, register it that long. Domain renewal prices are scheduled to go up every year, you'll save at least $20 over ten years, maybe more, not to mention it's one less thing to worry about.

[edited by: amznVibe at 5:24 am (utc) on Sep. 20, 2008]

10:53 am on Sept 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was curious why the BBC would publish such news when there has been far worse domain name registration after natural disasters for possible phising and I traced their source back to a press release by an IP law firm.

So this is essentially spawned by lawyers trying to drum up business. Lovely.

4:11 am on Sept 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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that they should buy the domain name BEFORE the deal is announced

Which means that anyone who notices the name is registered by one of the companies involved would know that a deal was coming. That is supposed to be kept completely secret until it is announced.
4:52 am on Sept 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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.... perhaps they should put the banks themselves on ebay!
3:52 pm on Oct 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Which means that anyone who notices the name is registered by one of the companies involved would know that a deal was coming. That is supposed to be kept completely secret until it is announced.

graeme_p that's why I said buy the domain anonymously so people will have to gamble with their money as the registrant is not guaranteed to be someone close to the issue.
4:18 pm on Oct 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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For those who are interested in learning a bit more about what "cybersquatting" is or isn't here's a few resources:

The website "Chilling Effects" is often a good place to start when confronted with free speech and intellectual property (copyright, trademark, patent) issues.

From ChillingEffects.org: Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act FAQ [chillingeffects.org]

The next quote is from The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [74.125.45.104] website:

Consistent with the comments generated by our Federal Register notice and request for comments, the report makes no new recommendations for guidelines and procedures and counsels legislative restraint at this time. The Department of Commerce believes that there is insufficient evidence as of this date to suggest that personal name holders lack redress when their names are abusively registered as Internet domain names. This report also concludes that the current work of the World Intellectual Property Organization being undertaken to explore and make recommendations concerning the bad faith registration of personal names will offer
further clarification of these complex issues.

Lastly, the follow is extracted from the language of the ACCPA:

(d) Cyberpiracy prevention
(1)
(A) A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person—
(i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section; and
(ii) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that—
(I) in the case of a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to that mark;
(II) in the case of a famous mark that is famous at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of that mark; or
(III) is a trademark, word, or name protected by reason of section 706 of title 18 or section 220506 of title 36.

Some night, when you cannot settle your mind, I suggest reading decisions of the arbitrator panels at WIPO or the National Arbitration Forum. For some folks such reading is a natural soporific.