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Hey, did I click on hot-male.com?
Cyber squatters are opening ‘spoof’ travel sites mimicking real ones
It should come as no surprise that the online travel market has become the buzzword among cyber squatters. Cyber squatters have developed phantom travel sites (similar to genuine ones) to reap benefit out of this $2 billion worth segment. Cyber squatters are developing sites that are similar to generic sites (like indiatimestravel.com for travel.indiatimes.com and mytripyatra.com for makemytrip.com and yatra.com) in order to bluff the users. They further charge an exorbitant price and also provide sub-standard packages.
The story of clones, one guesses, has just started. A spoof site, ‘webcameron.info’ was developed within two days of the launch of ‘Webcameron.org.uk’, that featured the speeches and vision statements of United Kingdom’s Conservative leaders. Even Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten was a victim of cyber squatting as his rival hacked his site ‘markoaten.co.uk’ and directed users to his own site, thus stealing potential voters.
In order to keep these cyber squatters from fidgeting with the original sites, many companies have developed dedicated teams who just keep on purchasing all possible domains that can be a potential spoof sites. Unfortunately, however hard these companies try, it seems impossible to totally get rid of these spoof sites, which not only eat away customer base but also destroys the brand and the reputation of the original company. To make matters worse, sometimes competitors themselves are involved in designing of these spoof sites and in directing them to unwanted links.
Banking, education, information, ministry, defence et al are sitting ducks in this maddening world wide web of spamming and squatting. It’s high time that ministries and policy makers take this matter seriously and draft strong and water tight laws that can not only stop these cyber squatters and spoofers, but can also initiate civil (or criminal, if the case may be) action against them through extremely stringent and well defined judicial regulations.
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