Reverse domain hijacking is also known as reverse cybersquatting.
normal cybersquatting incidents, a party registers a domain name in bad
faith, knowing that the registration will negatively impact another
party through infringing on their brand.
For example, a
cybersquatter may register a misspelling of a popular domain with the
intention of selling it to the brand owner at a greatly inflated price.
Alternatively, the cybersquatting registrant may run advertising on a
site associated with the name, and usually to divert traffic from the
brand owner to a competitor – or their own competing business.
reverse domain hijacking occurs when the owner of a brand attempts to
gain control of a domain name legitimately registered by another party
through making false claims against the registrant.
An example of
reverse cybersquatting may be where a web site has been in existence for
many years under a generic word based domain and a new business starts
up under the same or similar name. The owner of the new business
discovers they cannot register the domain as it is already taken and
threatens the registrant with litigation.
There have also been
cases where companies with deep pockets have filed complaints under the
Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (often referred to as the
“UDRP”) simply because they want a particular name; even if it’s not
closely aligned with their brand or any of their products or services.
if the brand owner doesn’t have a substantial and legitimate case, the
threat of legal proceedings can sometimes be enough to scare the
registrant into settling out of court or outside the UDRP – or the
equivalent of the policy in relation to country code Top Level Domains –
which may involve the transfer of the domain name to the complainant.
UDRP contains no real punishment or penalty to prevent or deter reverse
domain hijacking aside from it being noted in case files, which are
available to the public, that the complaint was lodged in bad faith and
constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.
registrant needs to rely on the UDRP process to establish that they did
not register the name in bad faith and/or the name does not infringe on
the complainant’s trademarks. Unfortunately, should the Uniform Domain
Name Dispute Resolution Policy process fail in this respect, while there
are other avenues for contesting the decision, they are extremely
Michael Bloch is an Australia-based online business consultant with many
years of experience in the web hosting and domain name services
industry. Michael is currently consulting for Domain Registration
Services, who have been providing domain names registration services since 1998. Start your domain name search now.