An apparent incident of “typo-squatting” has riled distributor Datastor.
The company has taken action to shut down a website using the domain name www.datastore.co.nz, claiming the portal is a deliberate attempt to lure web users who may misspell Datastor.
After being contacted by Datastor, the registered owner of the website complied and took the site down earlier this week.
However, Datastor owner Vic Dickerson is not impressed by the episode.
“They were riding on the back of our good name,” he says.
“Datastor is our registered trade name and we had to take them to task. We do not take this kind of thing lightly.”
However, Paul Wager of Orewa, who registered www.datastore.co.nz, says he had no knowledge of Datastor’s existence and that any confusion with the distributor is not deliberate, but a coincidence.
“I thought Datastore was a good name and got the domain name for a potential new business. They [Datastor] have brought to my attention that there was an issue with the name. I have now pulled the site down,” he says.
What vexed Dickerson further was that the name of a Datastor employee appeared on the main page of the site, which also contained links to other companies selling storage equipment, including online reseller Digizone, a Datastor customer.
“They have tried to legitimise the site by copying ours and adding storage-related links. People could easily think they reached our website,” says Dickerson.
Digizone’s Lenny Peng meanwhile says he did not know a link to his company appeared on Wager’s site. “The link is provided by Google Adsense and we have no control over where it is placed. I did not even know the site existed.”
But, Wager’s claims he had no control over the content on the site, as it was generated automatically based on popular web searches.
“There is obviously confusion because it sounds like the guy’s name was on the website. Someone must have searched for somebody’s name and the [system] must have decided it was a popular gem. It is an automated system – whatever people search for while it is sitting there becomes part of the website.”
Wager’s website also featured links to dating, relationship advice and Russian mail-order bride services.
Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting that relies on internet users making typographical errors when attempting to visit websites of well-known company or brand names, so that they accidentally visit the URL of a website similar to that of the one they tried to access.
Services like Google Adsense, which automatically delivers advertising targeted to the site and its contents, are used to provide sponsored links on the sites. Revenue is generated when visitors click through to advertisers’ links.
Typosquatting could result in breaches under the Fair Trading Act, warns lawyer Rae Nield.
“If visitors landing on your website are misled into believing they have reached the website of the true owners of the trade name it becomes a fair trading issue.”
Breaches of the Fair Trading Act are serious and could result in criminal charges, says Nield.