This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 3:42 pm and is filed under Brand Protection, Domain Disputes, Trademark Protection. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
While the recent reports by WIPO and FORUM highlighting the increased number of UDRP filings in 2010 are not surprising, it is interesting that such a small number of infringing domains are contested by trademark holders each year. There are over 200 million registered domains across both generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) with millions of infringements in the zone file across the globe. There were, however, just 4,873 domain dispute cases filed in 2010 covering approximately 8,000 domains—that’s not even making a dent in the problem nor is it deterring the cyber criminals from continuing their practices. It seems like much of the typo squatting and cyber squatting is being ignored. That said, certain companies, like Verizon, Lego and Allstate, are extremely active in brand enforcement and collectively filed multiple UDRPs last year to recover hundreds of trademarked domains, while many other companies that are being hurt by cybersquatting and typosquatting take no action all. This begs the question, why aren’t companies fighting back—to protect their marketing investments? Is it a reluctance to play the game of “whack-a-mole”? Is it a lack of budget? And do companies really know just how much a pay-per-click ad page hurts their revenue by diverting traffic? Is fighting domain name piracy just not a priority? How can it not be when the result is lost revenue?
Regardless of why many companies’ strategy is to do nothing, the fact remains that taking no action is hurting both their bottom and top lines. The legal departments and the marketing groups of a brand must work together to ensure that the equity that they have built and marketing dollars they have spent are not being hi-jacked—and are not making others wealthy. Safenames believes that any company (large and/or small) conducting e-commerce transactions, generating new leads or just showcasing their brand(s) online simply cannot afford to ignore cybersquatters and/or online trademark infringers because these cyber criminals pose an array of threats. At Safenames we are focused on educating our customers and the industry at large about the benefits of having a proactive domain name strategy in place for new brand launches. And for existing brands, how an aggressive and well coordinated domain monitoring and enforcement strategy can garner a large ROI. The risks and potential negative impact to a company’s revenue (and reputation) is just too great. The loss may be realized through paying unnecessary online advertising fees, affiliate fraud, counterfeiting, phishing and even losing sales to competitors. How much would an online marketing manager pay to get 5,000 or 10,000 new unique visitors a month? How happy would an affiliate manager be to save $100,000 a year in affiliate payouts by eliminating brand poaching? How much revenue can a company recoup by shutting down domains that are selling counterfeit goods? A proper brand enforcement strategy that includes domain name monitoring and recovery can produce an immediate positive ROI.
To learn more about best practices when developing an online brand enforcement strategy or to receive a free brand monitoring analysis of your brand, you can contact us at Safenames US, +1.703.574.5313 and [email protected], or the Safenames UK at +44 1908 200022 and [email protected].