CYBER SQUATTING FOR $$$

Cyber Squatting refers to the practice of registering Internet domain names you have no intention of ever using but hope to sell. Squatters might register names like “gold” or “horses,” for example, with the intent to later sell the domain to companies that are legitimately in a related business and want a name that’s easy to use and remember. The cost of registering domain names can be as low as $2 each and some squatters register hundreds of them, hoping to make a big profit reselling to a user who wants it.

Prices for desirable domain names can easily run into the thousands of dollars, and some have gone for millions. In 1998, the domain name “match.com” was sold for $7 million to Cendant Corporation, which resold the site to Ticketmaster a year and a half later for $50 million. In 2006, the domain name“sex.com” was sold for $12 million, and “sex.net” was sold for nearly half a million.

MarketMonitor.com, a site that tracks the activities of squatters, phishers, domain kiters and other online abuses, found a 40 percent increase in cyber squatting over the past year.

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