Research from MarkMonitor, a brand protection company, shows that cybersquatting is on the rise. The company warns that while many brands are aware it takes place, they do not realise the scale of abuse or its impact.
MarkMonitor’s first Brandjacking Index, a quarterly report measuring the effect of online threats to brands, shows that each week there are more than 300,000 incidents of brand abuse online and that more than 40% of abuse targets media companies.
The Brandjacking Index tracks the top 25 brands from the 2006 Top 100 Interbrand study and searches around 134 million public domain records daily for brand abuse as well as US and international Patent and Trademark Office data. The survey shows that cybersquatting, the unauthorised use of a brand name in a domain, is the most frequent abuse with more than 275,000 instances recorded. Because of the strong brand association created, cybersquatting is most often combined with other forms of abuse including e-commerce, pay-per-click fraud and kiting.
MarkMonitor EMEA managing director Charlie Abrahams says: “Historically brands have been more concerned about the abuse of brand names or trademarks in the physical sense. They must now apply this online.”