CitizenHawk, a provider of digital brand management solutions, said it has uncovered thousands of "cybersquatters" who have co-opted the trademarks of online electronics stores and are profiting off of unsuspecting shoppers who make typos when searching for these stores online. The company's free service, available at www.citizenhawk.com, can provide an estimate of how many cybersquatters are playing off of a site's name by creating similarly spelled domains.
As an example, the company produced the following estimates of the number of potentially trademark-infringing domains for leading CE sites:
- Circuit City, 547
- RadioShack, 428
- Crutchfield, 371
- iTunes, 318
- Best Buy, 293
- CompUSA, 215
- SonyStyle, 169
The one-year-old, privately held business estimates that upward of 20 percent of all hand-typed URLs are misspelled.
The company says it combats cybersquating with patent-pending technology that crawls the Web to search for possible misspellings of domain names, identifies instances of trademark infringement, pinpoints how these sites are being monetized, sends notices of fraudulent activity to domain owners, interrupts the flow of money being paid to trademark infringers and automates legal action to get fraudulent sites stopped for good.