If you’ve ever had a great idea for a website and looked to grab a fitting web address to go with it, you’ve likely encountered the annoyance of cybersquatters, who nab all the best domain names with the hope of selling them on at an inflated price to interested parties at a later date.
Now Apple, on the eve of what is expected to be the launch of a new iPad3 / iPad HD tablet, are faced with similar problems, with a third party holding control of the potentially lucrative iPad3.com domain.
A simple portal for adverts, the squatted site will likely draw large numbers if an iPad 3 is indeed revealed tonight, resulting potentially in lost revenue for Apple.
iPadHD.com is also held by an outside party, registered by a blogger known simply as “Dave” who infrequently posts app stories and hardware tips.
While these two examples (though annoying for those searching for Apple product homepages) seem innocent enough, there are plenty of cases where similar cybersquatted sites are littered with spyware and other virus-loaded software.
“It’s surprising that a tech savvy company like Apple, known for its very powerful brand, has lost control of all the likely web domain names of its new iPad. As they have other .com and .co.uk sites registered for Apple it seems that they do realise the value of owning these domain names,” said Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for web registrars Names.co.uk.
“Recently we’ve seen Virgin founder, Richard Branson wrestle to regain control of his name online so this is a huge oversight by the Cupertino-based tech company. These cases highlight the importance of registering each permutation of your company name online.”
Not that intentions are always malicious. Take the case of Mike Rowe, who came to blows with Microsoft’s lawyers. Rowe received a letter from the Redmond computing companies lawyers after registering the sound-alike site www.mikerowesoft.com.
“Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add ‘soft’ to the end of it. I didn’t think they would get all their high-priced lawyers to come after me,” he said of the experience.