Many consumers believe that if businesses with which they are unfamiliar do not have a presence on the Internet, it smacks of illegitimacy or lack of class. For many, as soon as they hear of something new, the first thing to do is “google” it. Successful and growing businesses should try to ensure that when a person “googles” their name, as advertised on radio, television, print media or a directory, the search engine will actually direct the user to the legitimate business. This does not always happen, however.
In the early days of the Internet and web addresses (called domain names), it was quite popular for some entrepreneurs to register domain names which contain the business names, along with several variations, of popular and successful organizations and celebrities. Domain name registries operate on a “first come, first register” basis, and there is no investigation as to whether the applicant is justified in pursuing the registration. This practice is labelled as cyber squatting. The entrepreneur would then sell the domain name registration to the organisation or celebrity whose name is reflected in the web address. Some domain names have attracted millions of dollars as the purchase price. More