Cybersquatter targets Toys R Us
Is this the acceptable face of the practice
Software developer Richard Warr has taken a dispute with toy store Toys 'R' Us onto the Internet by registering the domain name toys-r-us.co.uk and putting up a site to air his grievance.
Warr says he is angry over the "callous attitude of staff at the Toys R Us store in Stevenage towards a senior citizen" concerning a faulty PlayStation. The site, however, is genteel and holds only two links. One to his email address (for the toy store's management to reply to) and a second to the store's actual Web site (although it is prefaced by the phrase "to be honest I think you'd be better off shopping elsewhere, but click here to go there if you must").
Cybersquatting has made a bad name for itself, mostly through porn sites or demonstrators taking names very similar to recognised brands. The US has gone so far as to make the practice illegal. But Warr's action clearly demonstrates the democratic use that the Internet can be put to.
Last week, a ticket salesman made the news when he revealed he had made hundreds of pounds selling domain names similar to big companies. But while there are many tales of companies paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for overlooked names, Alex Nelson charged piddly amounts. Perhaps then that is the answer - companies don't mind as long as they don't have to pay anything more than petty cash. ®