Boring old .com and .net just aren’t cool any more. A huge range of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are available now, but they offer new potential for squatters and scammers to capitalise on the names of big companies. The most popular new gLTD, .xyz, has 80,000 new domains already, and in that list are some big tech trademarks — but they weren’t registered by the companies themselves.
According to World Trademark Review, tech companies have been proactive in picking up .xyz domains — Microsoft has jumped on microsoft.xyz, windows.xyz, xbox.xyz and others, while Apple has blocked apple.xyz, ipod.xyz and iphone.xyz from registration. .xyz is the most popular new gLTD, and the CEO of the company overseeing the new registrations wants it to become the new .com — but like .com, it’s open to anyone and everyone registering dodgy domains and holding them to ransom.
WTR reports that some big-name .xyz domains are being purchased (at almost no cost) by probable squatters — samsung.xyz, for example, was recently registered to a buyer in Middlesex in the UK, while ipad.xyz is owned by another UK buyer from Lancashire. These owners can now use the domains as they want unless, challenged by someone with a more verifiable claim or trademark — but this is an expensive and time-consuming process.
With so many counterfeit tech products, it’s baffling that the world’s biggest tech companies haven’t been more active in protecting themselves from possible scammers. The trend continues across other big-name brands, including fashion companies like Louis Vutton and Prada. Strangely enough, all these brands had a chance to buy preferred domains from the list of new gTLDs before the wider public were given the option to purchase them.
Of course, there are some tech brands that aren’t at as much risk as the big names like Apple and Samsung and Microsoft; WTR says that blackberry.xyz hasn’t been bought — even by a squatter — nor has nintendo.xyz. [World Trademark Review]