X-Factor favourite Leona Lewis victim of cybersquatters: domain name goes up for sale on eBay


leonalewis.jpgInstead of hurling insults at the MacDonald Brothers, Simon Cowell should perhaps have been registering some obvious domain names for his X-Factor candidates.

Leona Lewis, who seems to be the favourite to win the X-Factor, is now the ‘victim’ of cybersquatters who have registered ‘leonalewis.net’ and tried to flog it on eBay.

According to Reuters, bidding wasn’t exactly hot – with the top bid standing at £31. Experts (I’m not sure who) have said that this value could rise sharply. Unfortunately, when I visited the eBay listing I found that it had been withdrawn. Nice try, though.

It’s not the first case of cybersquatting by a long way, and (no offence to Leona) there have been some much more famous cases (Tom Cruise for example).

“Celebrities’ names become their brands and failing to secure all the obvious domain names has left this budding star open to attack online,” said Jonathan Robinson of NetNames.

Lewis’ page on social networking site MySpace has been visited more than 100,000 times.

I decided to do a bit of digging around other possible domain names (it’s great fun. No, really). The name ‘Ben Mills’ is a fairly common name so I wasn’t surprised to see quite legitimate sites in place for other people called Ben Mills (funny that).

Some people obviously have been taking domain names seriously, though: a certain Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd for example who registered nikittaangus.co.uk on 6th October 2006.


Related stories: Microsoft gets tough with domain cybersquatters | uTube.com manufacturing company website shut down after inundation with misdirected visitors | TV Scoop

Andy Merrett
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  • Saying that we are running out of IP Addresses or domain extensions for that matter is like saying that the 26 characters in the English alphabet are not enough for us anymore and we must add new characters to the 26 in order for us to meet the demand of those who are speaking or writing English. Adding more IP addresses is a matter of spending money and creating new technology and both are within our grasp now and in the future. Adding new extensions to serve the demand for domain names only serves the registry and the secondary market, and drives the prices for the registered domain names to out-of-reach territories.
    We have been seeing domain names selling for millions of dollars on a weekly basis. The biggest winner is the company that owns domain names and can afford to trademark those domain names. The rest of us who cannot afford to trademark our Internet business, due to the thousands of dollars of cost to do so, are powerless. The major companies and the wealthy ones can demand the return back of the domain names that are similar or confusingly similar to the domain name of their trademarked company.
    The Internet is a new frontier, and old rules that were created before the introduction of the Internet should not apply. As I can see, a famous trademark like Coca-Cola should enjoy the Internet protection. A company like Ebay which was created on the Internet and only has a cyber-existence should not have any protection whatsoever, otherwise the question would be why is ICANN creating everyday a new extension, and another guy can register the same domain name with a different extension. So the guy who has money who created a trademark for his name is protected and the rest of us are not protected and it is diluted every time there is a new extension or a country code added to the pool. So if I am selling t-shirts and my company is ABCT-shirts.com, in order to protect myself, I must buy 200 domain names to cover all extensions available worldwide. The trick is if you have a big company, even if it is trademarked in the United States, you cannot buy the .eu (Europe) or .de (Germany) extensions, so any person can register your domain name with those extensions and assign the domain name to the fake websites using the traffic to create money off your famous name which unfortunately you could not afford to trademark, or to create a website to compete in selling the same product you are selling.
    It is time for ICANN to think of the small guy, and let the big buys, politicians, famous celebrities and major companies who have their own top-gun lawyers to strip the rest of us until someone will open his eyes and say slavery is long gone in our society, and it�s time for it to disappear from the Internet. I am sure that we have all heard that some major companies are pooling their resources together to influence congress to enforce restrictor rules regarding what they call cyber squatting.
    The next thing you will see is one major company with the letter e in their name will take over all domain names that have the letter e, and when this happens the Internet will be doomed

  • Hi. I am the owner of the featured domain name. I purchased the domain along time ago when Leona was chosen to go to Simon’s “Boot camp”. I used the domain to run a fan site and forum, but due to back stabbing from other fan site’s and lack of free time I stopped running it. I thought that now would be a good time to let someone else take over the site and give it the time and dedication it needed. I never bought it with the intent of making money and part of any profits from the sale of the domain name WILL go to charity. The web address HAS now been re-listed on Ebay after a small dispute with Fremantle Media who have no problems with the sale of the domain name.

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