Virgin loses control of porn domain

Summary:Virgin Group, with fingers in many pies of air travel, banking, and more, is trying to reclaim a lost domain name that fell into a cybersquatter's hands.

Worldwide conglomerate Virgin forgot to register the richardbranson.xxx domain name, and the company wants it back.

Attempts such as these to buy domain names relating to or with a similar wording to a popular brand -- known as 'cybersquatting' -- can be used to extort money from the rightful owner, or piggy-back off the mistakenly spelt domain name.

A Virgin spokesperson said a complaint had been lodged against the owner of the domain with the National Arbitration Forum, as part of efforts to regain control of the domain.

If you haven't noticed, the recent launch of .xxx domain names has caused a stir amongst the technology community.

ICANN, the top-level domain name registrar, has opened up the floodgates for every possible domain name suffix possible. This means, for a meagre $185,000, you can have .pepsi, .coffee, and you can even has .cheezburger.

(If you got that, you get über-points).

It will make grabbing a corresponding .xxx domain name for brand protection purposes look like a walk through the park. Through the entire grace period, those who owned a similar domain name could apply to protect their brand. But many did not, including Virgin in this case.<

While the cost of each .xxx domain names costs around $200, it soon mounts up over multiple top-level domains if you are self-employed or a small business.

But Virgin, according to the BBC, spends "a lot of time protecting the Virgin brand and the Richard Branson name, and increasingly this takes us online". Clearly not enough.

This would be almost as embarrassing as the Vatican failing to register its own domain name. Oh, wait.

Image source: Flickr.

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Topics: Networking, Browser

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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