As if the tragedy were not enough for the responsible party, it appears cybersquatters immediately prey upon the publicity that surrounds a mass accident. Case in point, the recent Metrolink train accident that caused several deaths and numerous injuries has apparently created revenue opportunities for cybersquatters. For example, the domain name metrolinktrain.com now resolves to a parking page in an effort generate pay-per-click revenue for the registrant. It is highly doubtful that Metrolink, whose official website is housed at metrolinktrains.com, has authorized this domain registration or use of its trademark as part of this domain name. The same could be said for metrolink.com, a domain that the Southern California Regional Rail Authority should never have allowed to be registered by, let alone retained by, a cybersquatter. Simply put, cybersquatters see opportunity to capitalize off of this tragedy, and similar ones, knowing full well that Internet users will be searching for this news.
It also appears that the recent news regarding Lehman Brothers’
bankruptcy has also created domain name revenue opportunities. In fact, it
has been reported that domain names such as lehmanbankruptcy.com has been registered and is being auctioned. Is this cybersquatting upon Lehman’s trademark or is it merely domainer speculation? Regardless, it illustrates how quickly the domain name market reacts to, and becomes part of, breaking news.
All of the news surrounding these mass torts, like the Metrolink disaster, will
continue to entice cybersquatting. Whether it is reactive, like the Metrolink registrations, or speculative, like the Lehman Brothers registration, domain names that attract traffic and have revenue potential will continue to be attractive. Although defensive registrations may help to some extent, quick domain name registration and other action following such an event may be the best one can do.