Register.com Offers Corporate Cyber-Squatting Shield

Domain registrar Register.com unveiled a new service for corporate clients Tuesday that it says will help prevent cyber-squatting, the practice of registering a domain name in a effort to hold it hostage from the holder of an established trademark.

The company said its Corporate Services Division will monitor more than 260 top-level domains for its clients, and will register a domain name in a different extension for the clients when they become available.

In addition to “dot-com,” “dot-net” and “dot-org,” the company will also monitor international domain names. The service will be available to corporate clients who maintain 30 or more domain names, the company said.

NASDAQ, eBay and Readers Digest are three of Register.com’s corporate clients, and more are expected to follow as corporations look for more muscle to combat cyber-squatting.

Curbing the Practice

The U.S. Congress passed legislation last month to try to stem the tide of cyber-squatting, allowing companies to sue perpetrators for monetary damages.

Cyber-squatting has become fairly widespread, generating a virtual cottage industry. Recently, however, a number of courts around the U.S. have begun to address the trademark infringement issues surrounding the practice. Register.com’s new service will skirt around the punitive issue of cyber-squatting by registering the name first for its clients, the company said.

Coming Into Its Own

Register.com is one of the first of 90 Internet registrars that were recently granted the right to register Internet domain names by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit firm set up by the U.S. Commerce Department to manage domain names.

The Commerce Department made the move to break the stranglehold on domain registrations by Virginia-based Network Solutions, which had a virtual monopoly in the field.

In October, Register.com said it registered 160,000 new domain names between July 1st and September 30th. That figure accounted for 84 percent of all names not registered by NSI, leading the way for the new crop of domain registrars.

Register.com is backed by Staples, Concentric, Infoseek and Cybersource. The company has formed marketing alliances with the Go Network, Excite@Home, Intuit, ZD Net and others. It also offers has a service in the United Kingdom.

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