Cybersquatting: Cybersquatting is the act of registering domain names that are the names of existing businesses, trademarks or brands to "cash in" on that trademark or brand's existing value.
Cybersquatters typically hold these domain names hostage until the brand buys them back, often at a large sum that allows the cybersquatters to profit immensely.
In the earliest days of the Internet, major brands like Panasonic, Fry's Electronics, Hertz and Avon all fell victim to cybersquatting. However, instances of cybersquatting have since declined -- as most emerging businesses and brands now know that registering a domain name is an urgent priority.
So how can you tell if your business' name has fallen victim to cybersquatting?
The first step in checking is to actually visit the domain name you want to register for your business. If you arrive at a website that states things like "this domain name for sale" or "can't find server," it becomes increasingly likely that a cybersquatter owns this domain name.
Another indicator of cybersquatting is the domain name having a functioning website that is filled with advertisements for the same products and services your brand offers.
Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), you can successfully sue the cybersquatter. However, this process requires time and money that many new businesses don't have -- so you can also use the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)'s arbitration system to obtain your domain name from cybersquatters.