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October 19, 2007

Typosquatting & Cybersquatting Can Impact Your Solo Practice and Good Name

(UPDATE: 10/29 - Good article discussing how typosquatters profit off your name.)

Typosquatting is the registering of a domain name with a deliberate typo in it, a common typo, to redirect another's potential visitor to one's own site.  Outside the legal realm, a famous typosquatter, one who is sitting in jail for redirecting innocent kids TV shows such as BobtheBiulder or Teltubbies to porn sites, has just been fined $164,000 for typosquatting other sites and redirecting the searcher to non-porn related revenue generating sites.

What has this got to do with solos?  Well, awhile ago I went to contact a friend of mine who is a medical malpractice lawyer.  I initiated a Google search for his law firm's name and ended up on a junk advertising site.  I looked to see if I had misspelled the firm's name only to see I hadn't.  The firm's name had been cybersquatted...meaning someone purchased their law firm's name before they did.  It would appear this was done specifically so the law firm would have to purchase their own name back....the price would certainly be cheaper then hiring a lawyer to sue for the rights to their own name.  That's the scam. 

Ironically, the law firm had purchased a different more generic domain in an effort to direct key word traffic to their site and...oops....didn't think it was important to purchase their own law firm name.

For $9.99 on Godaddy.com you can buy your name with the .com, .net, .org, etc. even if you are still waiting on a getting your website or blog. If you decide to relinquish your name to the cybersquatter, understand you are also relinquishing potential clients to that cybersquatter.  Spend the $9.99 on Godaddy.com and buy your domain name(s) now and avoid the problem altogether.

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