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Watford Electronics turns cybersquatter on rivals for ‘a joke’

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Watford Electronics has turned cybersquatter by registering URLs using the names of some of its rivals. When David Atherton, MD of Dabs Direct, went to register his name as a dotcom, he found it had already gone to an outfit called Cresta Enterprise Ltd. So had davidatherton.co.uk and dabs.org.uk. Unbeknown to Jungle.com owner Steve Bennett, Cresta has also registered stevebennett.co.uk. It turns out that Cresta is a company owned by PC builder Watford Electronics, registered to the same Luton address as its parent. Atherton said: "I have no plans to use the URL at the moment. But if I did, I would make a short phonecall to my old friend Shiraz Jessa. I understand he sells PCs at 10 to 15 per cent margin - will I get the dotcom at the same price?" Cybersquatter Jessa, joint MD at Watford, said the domain name shopping spree had been a light-hearted attempt to goad his competitors. "It was just a joke. I expected one of them to approach me about it, but neither of them have and now I'm £100 out of pocket," he said. Web entrepreneur Bennett said he wasn't bothered about owning his own name as a URL at the moment. "If they don't do anything with it, I don't give a monkey's," he said. But if they do something with it that I don't like, I would be forced to take appropriate action." Jessa claimed Watford had no intention of starting any business ventures with the domain names. But he did agree to sell them to the duo "at the usual computer margin". ® Related Stories Jeanette Winterson demands return of kidnapped name London police in URL ownership row Jungle.com gets yer juices flowing Dabs Direct launches Playdirect.com

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