The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved “.sucks” as a top level domain (TLD). A TLD is the extension after the period in a domain name, such as .com, .net or .org. With this new TLD, many businesses risk ridicule if someone registers that business’s name for a “.sucks” website. While the cost of doing so may discourage some interlopers (the standard retail price is $249 per year, with some names going for ten times that), businesses will incur significant expenses if they attempt to preemptively register their own business names and derivations thereof.

The biggest defense to somebody attempting to profit off of your business’s name in a URL is to trademark that name. Having a federally registered trademark is one of the key things the ICANN looks for when it seeks to revoke the registrations filed by cybersquatters. However, prosecuting a complaint to revoke a registration is an expensive and, at times, lengthy procedure.

This may well be a situation of legalized extortion where businesses are better off being proactive and paying the registration fee so that no one else can get ahold of the name. It’s distasteful but may well be the best thing to do to protect your business.

For more information, click here.