CitizenHawk TypoAlert: Cybersquatting on Celebrity Names is Big Business

CitizenHawk reported that cybersquatters are fraudulently using celebrity names to generateCitizenHawk logo advertising revenue. In the latest CitizenHawk TypoAlert, the company details the impact of cybersquatting on some of today’s biggest names.

The following is a list of well-known actors, musicians, sports stars and other notable people and an estimate of the number of potentially trademark-infringing domains on each brand:

Bank Domains
Angelina Jolie 371
Avril Lavigne 314
Beyonce 777
Brad Pitt 279
Britney Spears 1,341
David Beckham 323
Hilary Duff 439
Kelly Clarkson 271
Justin Timberlake 275
Paris Hilton 1,974
Perez Hilton 172
Rihanna 437
Tom Cruise 469
Tyra Banks 234

Digital thieves use sophisticated, automated systems to purchase dozens, if not hundreds, of possible misspellings of domain names. This practice, called cybersquatting or typosquatting, allows them to build vast networks of web sites to siphon traffic away from legitimate companies. The sheer size of cybersquatters’ networks virtually guarantees that if a user makes an error in typing a brand name, they will be redirected to a typosquatter’s network.

“Paparazzi aren’t the only ones making money off people’s fascination with celebrities – cybersquatters are flagrantly hijacking the names of many major stars,” said Ari Master, co-founder and COO of CitizenHawk. “A celebrity’s name is their brand, and cybersquatters who leverage a celebrity brand to drive traffic to websites not associated with that star are devaluing the strength of that brand. We encourage celebrities and their managers to address the misuse of their names online.”