Rise Up Against Squatting!

YouChoose-logo-beta.gifFledgling online site YouChoose.net is touting itself as a social network for causes and petitions, and it’s picked up on a continuing annoyance of an issue to get folks riled up about: Cybersquatting. YouChoose.net is still in Beta, but it’s intended as a place for folks to post petitions for gathering signatures. Mike Dever, co-founder of YouChoose, is apparently going after ICANN President and CEO, Dr. Paul Twomey to rein in those malicious individuals that gather up domain names in hopes of a big corporate pay off, or culling money from ad networks like Google AdSense.

The petition reads:

“We, the undersigned, are concerned about domain name parking abuse and request that ICANN revisit the Anti-Cyberssquatting Consumer Protection Act and the Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act to ensure that a domain names that are parked would be available for sale at a price tag that would not be considered extortion. We request that ‘Cybersquatting’ issues be discussed, reviewed and formalized this year into a written law to help stop the continuation of domain parking as an extortionist means that cause legitimate businesses to pay high price for the domain name.”

Since it was created on June 12th, the petition has gathered 558 names as of today. Not a lot, but still not bad considering the site itself has only been around since February.

Separately, anti-typosquatting firm CitizenHawk has once again issued a “TypoAlert” to bring attention to how many slightly misspelled URLs close to major brands sites are being used to redirect viewers or trick them out of their personal data. Since launching its service in April, the company has gone on to warn about bank sites being targeted, and now has done the same for kid oriented sites.

The company found, for instance, that there are 628 potentially trademark-infringing domains listed around ClubPenguin, while Disney got 247, Cartoon Network got 537 and Nickelodeon got 318.

Of course, it behooves CitzenHawk to show the need for its services by listing potential violators, and it’s most likely a good idea for firms to do their due diligence to keep folks from violating their brand identity, but even so I still can’t get Maude Flanders’ shrill “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” out of my head.

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