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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to Counter a Domain Squatter? 3

pspahn writes: Recently, our small business has decided to finally put the "our website sucks" reality to bed. We are working hard on getting a modern, polished, and effective web site up and running. Today, however, it came to my attention that one of our local competitors (who has a history of stealing our innovations) has registered a domain name identical to ours except for "the" at the beginning. When arriving at their squatted domain, it implies to the user that we have gone out of business and then redirects them to their website (which is equally as crappy as ours).

After some brief research, it appears that there are two "legal" paths to follow. Hiring a lawyer or going through Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy. Both are somewhat cost prohibitive at this point, and it seems silly to have to fork over thousands of dollars to resolve something that has likely cost us plenty of business as it is. What alternative options do we have for resolving this? Can we send them a generic cease-and-desist? DMCA? Anonymous? Chinese flesh searchers? I'm hoping that we can employ some type of Barbara Streisand spin on this, as we have a long history of being an honest business that doesn't use these kind of deceptive practices to lure customers.
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Ask Slashdot: How to Counter a Domain Squatter?

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  • I'd do a marketing campaign (Flyers, ads, etc... but nothing crazy) highlighting the deceptive trade practice. If they are stating that you went out of business and are redirecting, that may even constitute some form of fraud for misrepresentation as they are basically pretending to be you and in pretending to be you, channel your business to them. You might have a legal case against them, so a letter with some strong verbiage from a lawyer may be enough to scare them...
  • That seems like an incredibly skeevy move on your competitors part. I would do everything I could to put this guy in his place, and save yourself money in the process.... send them some legal looking letters, complain to your city and state commerce boards and better business bureau... I would even write a letter to every paper and any sort of reporters in your area who are known for 'shame on you' or 'keeping them honest' type investigative journalism, you never know who's whistle you'll wet. I also have
    • A Cease and Desist letter is a good idea, but I would have a lawyer draft it. It shouldn't cost that much money and your attorney would be careful not to put anything in there that would force you into Court unless you wanted to. Sending legal looking letters on your own is a bad idea, you might accidentally run afoul of laws related to frivolous lawsuits and torturous interference. Something like that shouldn't take more than a couple of hours of a lawyers time and your company probably already has reta

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury