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Trademark Attorneys Warn Companies About the Upcoming .CM Cybersquatting Possibilities

In light of recent announcements regarding Cameroon’s country code Top-Level Domain, .CM, being opened to public registration, Tresa Baldas reports on Law.com: “Trademark attorneys are warning companies about a new target for cybersquatters known as ‘.cm,’ which is the country code—or top level domain—for the West African nation of Cameroon. The dot-cm domain is a hot target for scammers, they say, due to ‘cm’ being a common typographical error for ‘com’ in the popular dot-com domain. Attorneys say this is significant to brand owners because Internet users searching for brand owners’ Web sites frequently mistype dot-com as dot-cm and wind up on a bogus site. Not only is Web traffic lost, they say, but a brand name can get diluted or tainted along the way.” (Also see, Nation of Cameroon Typo-Squats the Entire .com Space from 2006)

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Our editor Chad made a similar point Frank Michlick  –  Jul 24, 2009 2:54 AM

Our editor Chad made a similar point in his Editorial earlier this week, mentioning that there are little reasons to purchase .CM domains for anything else but potential typo traffic, considering Internet penetration in Cameroon only is between 2-4% so far and the renewal fees of at least $175 seem too high for local residents. I should mention though that they registry was at least discussing plans to use the foreign registrations in order to subsidize local domain name purchases.

Warning Bla Bla Bla Alex Tajirian  –  Jul 24, 2009 8:31 PM

Obviously there are groups that will benefit from the .cm and others that stand to lose. I don’t see any economic social benefits.

Without going into calculation of social vs. private benefits, there are three instruments to fight back:

1.  Market Solutions:
(a)  Activism against secondary marketplaces, parking companies, and promoters of the TLD.

(b)  A carrot-and-stick cooperative brand-sharing regime in the spirit of the one proposed for second-level domains.

2.  Legislation: Make domain names, including the TLD, trademarkable. We have at least one attempt, namely Yahoo’s Y.com. What provisions are there to prevent registering new TLDs that are typos for ccTLDs?

The relatively high registration cost of $175 is practically irrelevant if there exists a lower price that makes the .cm a viable business.

I am sure there are other solutions should we care to tackle the issue.

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