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Summary:

In a case that shines light on the world of professional cybersquatters, Verizon is suing a website and a domain name registrar that placed…

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In a case that shines light on the world of professional cybersquatters, Verizon is suing a website and a domain name registrar that placed ads on hundreds of sites with Verizon-like names.

In a complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court, Verizon accuses “serial cybersquatters” Parked.com and registrar DNLtd of controlling more than 660 websites. The complaint says their unidentified owners used shell companies as part of a scheme to collect ad revenue when users seeking Verizon landed on these sites by mistake.

The phone giant has already won back control of sites like verizn.com and cerizon.com, but is using the lawsuit to seek trademark and cyber-squatting damages of $100,000 per site.

According to Verizon, Parked helps customers, including Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO), squeeze money out of unused websites by placing ads on them. It’s unclear if Yahoo! is also making money by serving ads onto the blank sites.

Verizon says DNLtd worked with Parked by taking over expired domain names under its control. The complaint also says the defendants make money by offering a service that, like an unlisted phone number, masks website registrants’ real identity in the Whois directory.

Both Parked.com and DNLtd are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, meaning it will be difficult for Verizon to obtain the identities of the owners who are now listed in the lawsuit as “Does 1-10.”

Big companies have been tangling with cybersquatters for years but this case is remarkable because of the number of sites involved. Verizon says the defendants have used “over 660 domain names which are confusingly similar” and lists eight pages of names on its complaint. Here’s a sample:

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  1. Oh! I know! Why doesn’t Verizon get some entry level IT intern who specializes in Social Media and the Interwebs and circumvent cyber squatters preemptively? You know, a little R & D beforehand?

  2. Hmmm
    Round two
    This time I predict Sigmund Solaris Donny Simington and “Those producers” are going to get knocked out
    Like most heavy weights they never know when to call it quits
    Serial cybersquatters extraordinaire

  3. Zack Andersson Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Yeah sue anyone stealing traffic(making people surf into YOUR website) and has a similar name. Stopping people outside a store and sending them somewhere else is not a crime..

  4. I hope verizon wins the case.
    We have had the trademark associated with our site http://www.snakeman.com.au for many years and recently had to deal with a bootlegger using black hat SEO methods to steal and rip off our established clients.  We now have an action against them for a large amount of damages.In summary we are dealing with common theft and the bootleggers should be treated the same way.

  5. Sorry, but I have trouble understanding how domains like “verioh.com”, “verixoncentral.com”, “frizone.com” or “amberzon.com” (some of the claimed domains) could be infringing anything from Verizon. What happens, everything that has “very” or “zon” in it belongs to Verizon? Come on!

    I could understand that Verizon claims for anything that contains the word “Verizon” in it, but this is ridiculous… next they’ll chaim that anything containing the letters “v”, “e”, “r”, “i”, “z”, “o” or “n” is cybersquatting…

    In any case, why did they do not buy those domains themselves? And is there not an approved process for claiming domains that infringe copyrights or trademarks to prevent exactly this kind of situations? IMHO, this is just the Internet bully…. a huge corporation that thinks it can do whatever it wants. And if this kind of crap is allowed to continue, they’ll kill the Internet.

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