What to do about cybersquatters?

I wrote a column this morning for The Times that will probably be published next Wednesday about the blogger who registered the domain “facebook.co.za” and who seems to be cybersquatting on the site under the guise of a seemingly legitimate blog. I noticed that this blog is ranked at #15 on Amatomu as I write this and it strikes me as perverse that a blog such as this which is clearly calculated to take advantage of the tremendous Facebook brand to make a quick buck should rise to prominence on a site like Amatomu and, in the process, receive even more traffic.

I don’t believe the solution is to start editing rankings in Amatomu (or any other blog tracking service) because the rankings tend to even out at the end of the day (we saw that happen with the 1000brownmnms blog not too long ago). What I am wondering is how we should be responding to this sort of blog. I guess it comes down to whether we support this sort of activity or not. If we support cybersquatting, however subtle, then let the likes of this blog become more popular and its owner profit from the attention. If, on the other hand, we don’t approve of this sort of abuse then perhaps we should vote with our mouse clicks and go somewhere else.


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Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

  1. Why is your tongue so far up America’s arsehole?

    Do you think America cares about our brandnames?

    They do not.

    South Africa had to pay a settlement in 2005 to the American woman who registered Rooibos as a trademark in the US. We weren’t given it – we had to buy it back.

    An American owns southafrica.com. He wants millions for the domain. He retains it even though our government wanted it.

    America does not give a damn about South Africa.

    And here is you and a whole bunch of other South Africans thinking we owe them something.

    We owe America shit.

  2. Why is your tongue so far up America’s arsehole?

    Do you think America cares about our brandnames?

    They do not.

    South Africa had to pay a settlement in 2005 to the American woman who registered Rooibos as a trademark in the US. We weren’t given it – we had to buy it back.

    An American owns southafrica.com. He wants millions for the domain. He retains it even though our government wanted it.

    America does not give a damn about South Africa.

    And here is you and a whole bunch of other South Africans thinking we owe them something.

    We owe America shit.

  3. Why is your tongue so far up America’s arsehole?

    Do you think America cares about our brandnames?

    They do not.

    South Africa had to pay a settlement in 2005 to the American woman who registered Rooibos as a trademark in the US. We weren’t given it – we had to buy it back.

    An American owns southafrica.com. He wants millions for the domain. He retains it even though our government wanted it.

    America does not give a damn about South Africa.

    And here is you and a whole bunch of other South Africans thinking we owe them something.

    We owe America shit.

  4. Why is your tongue so far up America's arsehole?

    Do you think America cares about our brandnames?

    They do not.

    South Africa had to pay a settlement in 2005 to the American woman who registered Rooibos as a trademark in the US. We weren't given it – we had to buy it back.

    An American owns southafrica.com. He wants millions for the domain. He retains it even though our government wanted it.

    America does not give a damn about South Africa.

    And here is you and a whole bunch of other South Africans thinking we owe them something.

    We owe America shit.

  5. It isn’t about feeling indebted to Americans, it is about a respect for intellectual property rights because next time it could be your domain being ripped off or your IP being infringed.

    What we allow here or overlook could come back to bite us and also says a lot about our own sense of right and wrong.

  6. It isn’t about feeling indebted to Americans, it is about a respect for intellectual property rights because next time it could be your domain being ripped off or your IP being infringed.

    What we allow here or overlook could come back to bite us and also says a lot about our own sense of right and wrong.

  7. It isn’t about feeling indebted to Americans, it is about a respect for intellectual property rights because next time it could be your domain being ripped off or your IP being infringed.

    What we allow here or overlook could come back to bite us and also says a lot about our own sense of right and wrong.

  8. It isn't about feeling indebted to Americans, it is about a respect for intellectual property rights because next time it could be your domain being ripped off or your IP being infringed.

    What we allow here or overlook could come back to bite us and also says a lot about our own sense of right and wrong.

  9. Paul, America is biting our arses already!

    Wake up and smell the Rooibos!

    Until America starts respecting our IP, they can go to hell!

    Facebook.com can take facebook.co.za out of our cold dead hands!

    Co.za is for South Africans, not for Americans!

    If facebook.com was interested in South Africans in even the slightest way, they would have registered facebook.co.za when they had the chance.

    They bothered to register facebook.de.

    Please face facts: America and Americans do not care about South Africa or South Africans. In fact, they deride us every chance they get.

    Speak to Americans online and it won’t be long before you hear them telling us that we live in mud huts and that we are backward baboons.

    Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!

    If you want to have any chance of convincing me you have any point at all, please present examples of cases where America has acted to safeguard South African interests.

  10. Paul, America is biting our arses already!

    Wake up and smell the Rooibos!

    Until America starts respecting our IP, they can go to hell!

    Facebook.com can take facebook.co.za out of our cold dead hands!

    Co.za is for South Africans, not for Americans!

    If facebook.com was interested in South Africans in even the slightest way, they would have registered facebook.co.za when they had the chance.

    They bothered to register facebook.de.

    Please face facts: America and Americans do not care about South Africa or South Africans. In fact, they deride us every chance they get.

    Speak to Americans online and it won’t be long before you hear them telling us that we live in mud huts and that we are backward baboons.

    Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!

    If you want to have any chance of convincing me you have any point at all, please present examples of cases where America has acted to safeguard South African interests.

  11. Paul, America is biting our arses already!

    Wake up and smell the Rooibos!

    Until America starts respecting our IP, they can go to hell!

    Facebook.com can take facebook.co.za out of our cold dead hands!

    Co.za is for South Africans, not for Americans!

    If facebook.com was interested in South Africans in even the slightest way, they would have registered facebook.co.za when they had the chance.

    They bothered to register facebook.de.

    Please face facts: America and Americans do not care about South Africa or South Africans. In fact, they deride us every chance they get.

    Speak to Americans online and it won’t be long before you hear them telling us that we live in mud huts and that we are backward baboons.

    Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!

    If you want to have any chance of convincing me you have any point at all, please present examples of cases where America has acted to safeguard South African interests.

  12. Paul, America is biting our arses already!

    Wake up and smell the Rooibos!

    Until America starts respecting our IP, they can go to hell!

    Facebook.com can take facebook.co.za out of our cold dead hands!

    Co.za is for South Africans, not for Americans!

    If facebook.com was interested in South Africans in even the slightest way, they would have registered facebook.co.za when they had the chance.

    They bothered to register facebook.de.

    Please face facts: America and Americans do not care about South Africa or South Africans. In fact, they deride us every chance they get.

    Speak to Americans online and it won't be long before you hear them telling us that we live in mud huts and that we are backward baboons.

    Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!

    If you want to have any chance of convincing me you have any point at all, please present examples of cases where America has acted to safeguard South African interests.

  13. Richard, that is a very grown up view of IP protection. You may live on the tip of Africa but you are still part of the global community and the same Internet as the rest of us.

    It doesn’t matter that Facebook is American. I would have the same views if the domain impacted on an English, Brazilian or South African brand. Consider how you would feel if someone launched a site at cape-town-news.co.za or some other variation of your domain and set up a couple ads intent on profiting from your brand and popularity. Unless you are ok with that (in which case you are one progressive guy) you may have a different view of cybersquatting.

    “Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!” WTF? Are you George Bush now? “You’re either with us and the right to cybersquat, or you’re anti-South Africa!”. What rubbish. A South African regulatory body is enforcing rules against cybersquatting that were imposed by the South African government. Americans didn’t impose these rules.

    And as for convincing you of anything, I don’t feel that I need to convince you that I have a point. I believe that this stance is the correct stance. I do try to rise above “an eye for an eye” mentality – it doesn’t lead to anything good, just two people in pain and half the sight they had before.

  14. Richard, that is a very grown up view of IP protection. You may live on the tip of Africa but you are still part of the global community and the same Internet as the rest of us.

    It doesn’t matter that Facebook is American. I would have the same views if the domain impacted on an English, Brazilian or South African brand. Consider how you would feel if someone launched a site at cape-town-news.co.za or some other variation of your domain and set up a couple ads intent on profiting from your brand and popularity. Unless you are ok with that (in which case you are one progressive guy) you may have a different view of cybersquatting.

    “Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!” WTF? Are you George Bush now? “You’re either with us and the right to cybersquat, or you’re anti-South Africa!”. What rubbish. A South African regulatory body is enforcing rules against cybersquatting that were imposed by the South African government. Americans didn’t impose these rules.

    And as for convincing you of anything, I don’t feel that I need to convince you that I have a point. I believe that this stance is the correct stance. I do try to rise above “an eye for an eye” mentality – it doesn’t lead to anything good, just two people in pain and half the sight they had before.

  15. Richard, that is a very grown up view of IP protection. You may live on the tip of Africa but you are still part of the global community and the same Internet as the rest of us.

    It doesn’t matter that Facebook is American. I would have the same views if the domain impacted on an English, Brazilian or South African brand. Consider how you would feel if someone launched a site at cape-town-news.co.za or some other variation of your domain and set up a couple ads intent on profiting from your brand and popularity. Unless you are ok with that (in which case you are one progressive guy) you may have a different view of cybersquatting.

    “Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!” WTF? Are you George Bush now? “You’re either with us and the right to cybersquat, or you’re anti-South Africa!”. What rubbish. A South African regulatory body is enforcing rules against cybersquatting that were imposed by the South African government. Americans didn’t impose these rules.

    And as for convincing you of anything, I don’t feel that I need to convince you that I have a point. I believe that this stance is the correct stance. I do try to rise above “an eye for an eye” mentality – it doesn’t lead to anything good, just two people in pain and half the sight they had before.

  16. Richard, that is a very grown up view of IP protection. You may live on the tip of Africa but you are still part of the global community and the same Internet as the rest of us.

    It doesn't matter that Facebook is American. I would have the same views if the domain impacted on an English, Brazilian or South African brand. Consider how you would feel if someone launched a site at cape-town-news.co.za or some other variation of your domain and set up a couple ads intent on profiting from your brand and popularity. Unless you are ok with that (in which case you are one progressive guy) you may have a different view of cybersquatting.

    “Your loyalty OUGHT to lie with South Africa!” WTF? Are you George Bush now? “You're either with us and the right to cybersquat, or you're anti-South Africa!”. What rubbish. A South African regulatory body is enforcing rules against cybersquatting that were imposed by the South African government. Americans didn't impose these rules.

    And as for convincing you of anything, I don't feel that I need to convince you that I have a point. I believe that this stance is the correct stance. I do try to rise above “an eye for an eye” mentality – it doesn't lead to anything good, just two people in pain and half the sight they had before.

  17. Yes, I live in South Africa and my loyalties lie with South Africa and South Africans, and no-one else.

    You may think that we’re part of some larger greater bigger global community and that we’re all looking out for each other, but that is a fantasy I choose not to indulge in with you.

    My blog (Cape Town news) is not a brand name. It’s a completely generic phrase and people use it all over. I am not so arrogant as to think that because I registered that domain name in the co.za space that that entitles me to every variation thereof in every domain space.

    I did some research and discovered that myspace.co.za, bbc.co.za and gmail.co.za are all registered to South Africans and have no association with myspace.com, bbc.co.uk and gmail.com respectively. None of these local domains even reference their famous namesakes.

    I don’t think either the Americans or the Britons care a jot that the aforementioned names are being used in the co.za namespace for completely different purposes.

    You say it doesn’t matter that facebook.com is American. I say it does. If facebook.com was a well-known South African company and someone else registered facebook.co.za, then I would agree that the registration was mischievous. The fact that facebook.com is well known to some South Africans does not say to me that that means they automatically have rights to facebook.co.za. They are not a registered company in South Africa. They do not have offices here. They do not employ people here. They do not pay taxes here. They do not trade on our soil in anyway. Any business they do with South Africans is legally transacted on American soil.

    My argument is that the co.za namespace specifically caters to businesses operating in South Africa. If you are a registered business operating in South Africa and paying taxes to the South African government, then, yes, you may have a claim to your name in the co.za namespace. Otherwise, no, you do not enjoy any special rights to any co.za domain name. I don’t care how famous or well known you are.

    I notice that as soon as facebook.co.za became known to some South Africans, there was an immediate knee-jerk reaction to side with the American company and level an accusation of cybersquatting. I am frankly amazed by that reaction. There seems to be an implicit assumption with you (the accusers) that if anyone establishes a popular domain in some other namespace, then that automatically reserves their name in the co.za namespace for their use and their use only. Even if they never take it up, you would regard anyone else using it as “wrong”.

    And yes, Paul, the onus is on you to convince me that your position holds any merit. If you think you don’t have to present arguments to back up your position, then you are wasting our time and you should cease blogging your opinions.

    Yes, I do question your loyalties to South Africa and South Africans when you side against your countrymen.

  18. Yes, I live in South Africa and my loyalties lie with South Africa and South Africans, and no-one else.

    You may think that we’re part of some larger greater bigger global community and that we’re all looking out for each other, but that is a fantasy I choose not to indulge in with you.

    My blog (Cape Town news) is not a brand name. It’s a completely generic phrase and people use it all over. I am not so arrogant as to think that because I registered that domain name in the co.za space that that entitles me to every variation thereof in every domain space.

    I did some research and discovered that myspace.co.za, bbc.co.za and gmail.co.za are all registered to South Africans and have no association with myspace.com, bbc.co.uk and gmail.com respectively. None of these local domains even reference their famous namesakes.

    I don’t think either the Americans or the Britons care a jot that the aforementioned names are being used in the co.za namespace for completely different purposes.

    You say it doesn’t matter that facebook.com is American. I say it does. If facebook.com was a well-known South African company and someone else registered facebook.co.za, then I would agree that the registration was mischievous. The fact that facebook.com is well known to some South Africans does not say to me that that means they automatically have rights to facebook.co.za. They are not a registered company in South Africa. They do not have offices here. They do not employ people here. They do not pay taxes here. They do not trade on our soil in anyway. Any business they do with South Africans is legally transacted on American soil.

    My argument is that the co.za namespace specifically caters to businesses operating in South Africa. If you are a registered business operating in South Africa and paying taxes to the South African government, then, yes, you may have a claim to your name in the co.za namespace. Otherwise, no, you do not enjoy any special rights to any co.za domain name. I don’t care how famous or well known you are.

    I notice that as soon as facebook.co.za became known to some South Africans, there was an immediate knee-jerk reaction to side with the American company and level an accusation of cybersquatting. I am frankly amazed by that reaction. There seems to be an implicit assumption with you (the accusers) that if anyone establishes a popular domain in some other namespace, then that automatically reserves their name in the co.za namespace for their use and their use only. Even if they never take it up, you would regard anyone else using it as “wrong”.

    And yes, Paul, the onus is on you to convince me that your position holds any merit. If you think you don’t have to present arguments to back up your position, then you are wasting our time and you should cease blogging your opinions.

    Yes, I do question your loyalties to South Africa and South Africans when you side against your countrymen.

  19. Yes, I live in South Africa and my loyalties lie with South Africa and South Africans, and no-one else.

    You may think that we’re part of some larger greater bigger global community and that we’re all looking out for each other, but that is a fantasy I choose not to indulge in with you.

    My blog (Cape Town news) is not a brand name. It’s a completely generic phrase and people use it all over. I am not so arrogant as to think that because I registered that domain name in the co.za space that that entitles me to every variation thereof in every domain space.

    I did some research and discovered that myspace.co.za, bbc.co.za and gmail.co.za are all registered to South Africans and have no association with myspace.com, bbc.co.uk and gmail.com respectively. None of these local domains even reference their famous namesakes.

    I don’t think either the Americans or the Britons care a jot that the aforementioned names are being used in the co.za namespace for completely different purposes.

    You say it doesn’t matter that facebook.com is American. I say it does. If facebook.com was a well-known South African company and someone else registered facebook.co.za, then I would agree that the registration was mischievous. The fact that facebook.com is well known to some South Africans does not say to me that that means they automatically have rights to facebook.co.za. They are not a registered company in South Africa. They do not have offices here. They do not employ people here. They do not pay taxes here. They do not trade on our soil in anyway. Any business they do with South Africans is legally transacted on American soil.

    My argument is that the co.za namespace specifically caters to businesses operating in South Africa. If you are a registered business operating in South Africa and paying taxes to the South African government, then, yes, you may have a claim to your name in the co.za namespace. Otherwise, no, you do not enjoy any special rights to any co.za domain name. I don’t care how famous or well known you are.

    I notice that as soon as facebook.co.za became known to some South Africans, there was an immediate knee-jerk reaction to side with the American company and level an accusation of cybersquatting. I am frankly amazed by that reaction. There seems to be an implicit assumption with you (the accusers) that if anyone establishes a popular domain in some other namespace, then that automatically reserves their name in the co.za namespace for their use and their use only. Even if they never take it up, you would regard anyone else using it as “wrong”.

    And yes, Paul, the onus is on you to convince me that your position holds any merit. If you think you don’t have to present arguments to back up your position, then you are wasting our time and you should cease blogging your opinions.

    Yes, I do question your loyalties to South Africa and South Africans when you side against your countrymen.

  20. Yes, I live in South Africa and my loyalties lie with South Africa and South Africans, and no-one else.

    You may think that we're part of some larger greater bigger global community and that we're all looking out for each other, but that is a fantasy I choose not to indulge in with you.

    My blog (Cape Town news) is not a brand name. It's a completely generic phrase and people use it all over. I am not so arrogant as to think that because I registered that domain name in the co.za space that that entitles me to every variation thereof in every domain space.

    I did some research and discovered that myspace.co.za, bbc.co.za and gmail.co.za are all registered to South Africans and have no association with myspace.com, bbc.co.uk and gmail.com respectively. None of these local domains even reference their famous namesakes.

    I don't think either the Americans or the Britons care a jot that the aforementioned names are being used in the co.za namespace for completely different purposes.

    You say it doesn't matter that facebook.com is American. I say it does. If facebook.com was a well-known South African company and someone else registered facebook.co.za, then I would agree that the registration was mischievous. The fact that facebook.com is well known to some South Africans does not say to me that that means they automatically have rights to facebook.co.za. They are not a registered company in South Africa. They do not have offices here. They do not employ people here. They do not pay taxes here. They do not trade on our soil in anyway. Any business they do with South Africans is legally transacted on American soil.

    My argument is that the co.za namespace specifically caters to businesses operating in South Africa. If you are a registered business operating in South Africa and paying taxes to the South African government, then, yes, you may have a claim to your name in the co.za namespace. Otherwise, no, you do not enjoy any special rights to any co.za domain name. I don't care how famous or well known you are.

    I notice that as soon as facebook.co.za became known to some South Africans, there was an immediate knee-jerk reaction to side with the American company and level an accusation of cybersquatting. I am frankly amazed by that reaction. There seems to be an implicit assumption with you (the accusers) that if anyone establishes a popular domain in some other namespace, then that automatically reserves their name in the co.za namespace for their use and their use only. Even if they never take it up, you would regard anyone else using it as “wrong”.

    And yes, Paul, the onus is on you to convince me that your position holds any merit. If you think you don't have to present arguments to back up your position, then you are wasting our time and you should cease blogging your opinions.

    Yes, I do question your loyalties to South Africa and South Africans when you side against your countrymen.

What do you think?

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