Technology

Royal baby: Cybersquatters descend on Prince George domains

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Domains were snapped up almost from the moment Prince George was born

Cybersquatters have leapt at the chance to register domain names referring to the new royal baby, Prince George.

Within moments of the baby's name being announced, domains such as GeorgeAlexanderLouis.com and princegeorgecambridge.co.uk were taken.

Purchases of domain names mentioning the name "George" rose by 106.9%, reseller Names.co.uk said.

One buyer of a royal baby-related domain has put it up for sale at £10,000.

The owner, Matt James, snapped up hrhprincegeorgecambridge.co.uk on 24th July - the day of the naming announcement.

He told the BBC: "Like most British people, I was glued to the TV, excited about the birth and thought a baby Prince domain name had potential.

"If it does sell for £10,000, I will definitely give half to a charity associated with Will and Kate."

Between 22 and 25 July, Names.co.uk noted 413 individual domains that contained one or more of the words Royal, Baby, HRH, Prince, George, Alexander and or Louis.

Opportunistic buyers were busy snapping up royal baby-related names well before the prince was even born - the less-than-appealing name royalfoetus.com was bought in December last year.

Rainforest wrangles

Cybersquatting is a common concern for companies who are determined to protect their brand online.

Firms like Google go to great lengths to prevent embarrassment by buying up hundreds of domains like googlesucks.com - but also domains used to imitate brands for more malicious reasons, such as "phishing" scams which seek to trick users into thinking they are on a legitimate website.

Soon, Icann - the body responsible for overseeing the domain name system - will roll-out custom top level domains, paving the way for suffixes like .google and .apple as well as the more typical .com and .co.uk. The BBC has applied to have .bbc.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Countries in the region want to protect the online identity of the Amazon rainforest

Companies have been invited to request ownership of domains which relate to trademarks they own.

The process has stirred some controversy, however - online shop Amazon has been denied the use of .amazon after a challenge from several Latin American companies.

They argued the domain should be used to reflect the rainforest region rather than the retail giant.

"'.amazon' is a geographic name that represents important territories of some of our countries which have relevant communities, with their own culture and identity directly connected with the name," said a letter from the countries.

"Beyond the specifics, this should also be understood as a matter of principle."

An Icann sub-committee agreed with this argument, but its decision is not final and can be overruled by the Icann board.

At the time of writing, .prince is still available as a suffix, however .george has been requested by Wal-Mart, presumably in relation to the clothing brand.

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