Moneybags Bloomberg whips out checkbook to gobble spoof website

Meanwhile, trademark holder gets hit with $50,000 for pushing its luck

Bloomberg has filed with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) to get hold of the domain name that embarrassed the organization and boosted Twitter's share price temporarily last week.

The website bloomberg.market hosted a mirror of the official bloomberg.com, but with a single exception: a fake story about how Twitter was on the verge of being bought out. It caused the social media upstart's share price to jump four per cent before Bloomberg announced the story was fake.

The newswire worked with the operator of .market, Rightside, to get the website down and within a few hours it was dead. Now Bloomberg has paid $1,300 to get hold of it permanently: something it does on a relatively frequent basis.

Just this year, the company has filed and won claims on: bloomberg.red, bloombergcompany-us.com, bloombergss.info, bloombergsa.info, bloombergb.info, bloomberg.info, bloombergdata.net, bloomberg.link, bloomberg.lawyer, bloombergon.com, bloomberg.top, bloombergonline.net, bloombergpodcasts.com, and bloombergexperts.net.

That demonstrates that Bloomberg had taken a "wait and see" approach, common to many companies, when it comes to domain names and cybersquatting. The bloomberg.market case may change that however, and just this week Dominos filed to get hold of dominos.pizza six months after it was registered.

And the flipside

Not that it's all plain sailing for trademark holders though. When ultrasound company SDT International, based in Belgium, filed a domain dispute case over the domain SDT.com it felt it was on to a sure thing.

SDT had previously offered to buy the domain but was rebuffed. The owner, Nat Cohen, was therefore not best pleased when he had an arbitration complaint filed against him.

According to DomainNameWire, Cohen first wrote to SDT's managing director pointing out that the arbitrator would almost certainly make a finding against the company.

When he got no response, he decided to up the ante and took SDT to court, filing for statutory damages for "reverse domain name hijacking." SDT fought back, so Cohen and his company Telepathy expanded the claim to include breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.

SDT agreed to settle and paid Cohen $50,000, plus provided a signed statement that Telepathy was the rightful owner of SDT.com. It was an expensive lesson in not abusing the system, although Cohen puts the poor decision down to SDT being persuaded by its Belgian lawyers, Novagraaf Belgium NV/SA, who have twice been blasted for similar abuses.

And the solution?

One solution to this issue of big brands dealing with the huge explosion in internet dot-word domains is for the registry operators themselves to take ownership of the problem.

And that would appear to be the case in the newest addition to the internet: .bank.

As you can imagine, domains ending in .bank could be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes. Which is why the operator, fTLD, has gone out of its way to ensure that only real banks ever get their hands on one.

In December, the company said it had hired Symantec to verify every application. You also sign up to a list of requirements designed to improve security when you register a .bank domain, including:

  • Re-verification every two years
  • Use of the DNSSEC security protocol
  • Multi-factor authentication to change the domain data
  • Email authentication
  • Strong encryption requirements

So far, the approach appears to have been successful, with 5,500 banks having signed up for their names.

The certainty and additional security comes with a price however: each domain is $999. A lot of money for the average person, considering that the average domain costs around $10, but it may be not so much for banks. ®

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