Verisign, the company responsible for operating key Internet infrastructure (e.g. ‘.com’), has published its latest brief on the state of the domain name industry.
The volume of domain names registered globally increased to approximately 329.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 with total country-specific registrations increasing to 142.7 million for the quarter. Of the country-specific domains, ‘.cn’ is easily the largest with about 21 million domain name registrations with ‘.uk’ being the sixth most registered with about 11 million domains registered.
Unfortunately, many of those ‘.cn’ domains will have been registered for cybersquatting (the practice of registering brand names and then using them for profit in some way – e.g. by placing adverts on the website). While this affects most domain ‘extensions’, our clients are more frequently seeing particular issues with ‘.cn’ domain names whereby their brands are registered and then they are contacted with an offer of the sale of the domain to them; the squatters know that the cost of proceedings in these kind of situations will usually exceed the cost of simply paying them for the domain. However, in some cases, brand owners aren’t even aware there is an issue until they try to register their brand name and this can cause further issues; if no action is taken within two years of registration, the cheaper and faster alternative dispute resolution process will no longer be an option and the brand owner will need to resort to court proceedings in China to recover the domain.
To avoid falling afoul of squatters and to be able to react quickly if squatting does occur, we recommend that clients initially carry out domain name audits to identify any current issues and then to develop a strategy for protecting their brand online in the future. To discuss a no-obligation audit and domain strategy, contact one of our domain name experts on 0207 288 6003 or INFO.