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Third-Level Domain Name Hijacking

A new type of domain-name hijacking is being carried out unnoticed. It involves third-level domain-names associated with affiliate programs.

If you had been an online affiliate of, say, company xyz.com, your affiliate Internet address could have looked like YourCompanyName.xyz.com. If you or xyz.com terminates the relationship, xyz.com might decide to assign your affiliate address YourCompanyName.xyz.com to a new entity that has no relationship to you or YourCompanyName. The new entity would use YourCompanyName to exploit its intrinsic value.

The assignment of your affiliate third-level domain name to another company creates two sources of value loss to you. The first is through lost traffic from http://YourCompanyName.xyz.com and the second is a result of the infringement on your company’s brand name.

In such situations, there are two levels of initiatives that you can take to protect your brand name. First find out whether such an infringement is underway and the second is a proactive measure to monitor and limit damages from such violations. If you are already a victim:

1. You should first ask xyz.com to immediately deactivate the third-level domain name YourCompanyName.xyz.com, or to restore your affiliate link.

2. Contact the entity infringing on your intellectual property and ask them to cease using your name in any affiliate programs.

3. Contact us to assist you with (1) and (2) above. We are considering making public the names of such violators.

By Alex Tajirian, CEO at DomainMart

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Colin Dijkgraaf  –  Dec 9, 2004 12:15 AM

Hardly a new thing, I experience this over 2 years ago.
I had a third level domain off start.at (NAME.start.at or start.at/NAME)
I won’t mention what NAME was (at it now goes to a porn site and I don’t want to promote it) but since it a geographical region, rather than a brand name, the only action I took was to search for URL’s that were pointing to it, and sending them an update informing them that it was no longer valid and to please update.
Unfortunately there are still some links pointing to it as some people just don’t update their sites.

Jane Clinton  –  Dec 9, 2004 4:17 AM

Ali, how much to you charge for advertising space?

Do you quality check any claims made?


Daniel R. Tobias  –  Dec 15, 2004 8:36 PM

Anybody with any domain can create subdomains of it, some of which might infringe on somebody’s trademark.  That’s not really something you can do anything about, except for after-the-fact action against somebody actually using such a name in an abusive way.

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