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BizReport : Domain Names : September 30, 2009

MarkMonitor: Cybersquatting, Phishing a big problem for brands

When it comes to brand management, one of the most insidious problems is cybersquatting, especially for pharma-marketers. According to a recent MarkMonitor report there are more than 19,000 'cybersquatted' domains for the top six pharmaceutical brands. That is a 9% increase over 2008.

by Kristina Knight

Cybersquatting is the ">wrongful use of a domain based on trademarked names. MarkMonitor research reveals that cybersquatting happens upwards of 23,000 times each week for brands across the spectrum of advertising sectors.

According to this report:

• Only 4 of 2,930 online pharmacies were certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sties
• Phishing remains a problem for pharma-marketers with 151,000 phishing attacks reported in Q2 2009
• Half of phishing sites are hosted in the US
• Canada (13%) and Germany (3.6%) also have high phishing site numbers

"Scammers are opportunists, and by targeting the supply chain they're positioning themselves to move the greatest amount of fake product they can," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer at MarkMonitor. "This maximizes their return on the scam but it also poses a potential danger to peoples' health and safety, not to mention brand reputation."

What can brands do to protect themselves? First monitor the actual domain name and monitor possible 'alternate' domains. For instance, "Brand X" should look for domains such as "CheapBrandX". If a domain is found, MarkMonitor suggests sending "cease and desist" letters to the business cybersquatting; most of the time this will result in the fake domain being removed.

Tags: cybersquatting, domain names, MarkMonitor, online advertising, pharma ads, phishing

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