Some of the UK's top businesses are falling prey to 'cybersquatters' as several domain names concerning their brands are already being bought by third parties, amid the public launch of hundreds of new web suffixes, a new research revealed.
According to a report from ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse, the centralised repository of validated trademarks, third parties have already tried to pre-order 78% of the Britain's top 50 brands under the .online domain name, 72% under .app, 70% under .shop and 68% under .blog.
Several new generic top-level domain name (GTLD) suffixes, ranging from ????. (.web in Arabic) to .sexy, .technology and .singles are scheduled to be launched during the week, the report noted.
By the end of 2015, over 1,000 new top level domains (TLDs) would go live, surpassing the currently available 22, such as .com, .net and.org, marking one of the biggest modifications to the Internet since its origin, Telegraph reported citing the report.
Trademark Clearinghouse project director Jan Corstens said that some of the UK's biggest brand names are at risk of IP infringement online as new TLDs are rolled out, with other parties keen to capitalise on the traffic a branded website will generate.
"This not only compromises the reputation of each brand targeted, but also has much larger implications," Corstens said.
"Looking at the bigger picture, if brands fail to prevent third parties from registering domains relating to their trademarks, the economy as a whole potentially stands to lose millions to grey and black market activities, with consumers inadvertently buying counterfeit products from third parties posing as the brand online."
Recently, Nominet, the organisation supervising all UK web addresses, confirmed that the '.uk domain' names will be launched on 10 June 2014, facilitating individuals and businesses to register the shorter domain names via their registrar alongside existing '.co.uk' or '.org.uk' domains.