August 7, 2012
An online security firm has stated the vast majority of web sites using the word 'Olympics' in the domain name are either scams or spam.
Zscaler said it identified domains containing the string 'olympics' accessed by the company's customers over the course of a day and determined 80% of the web sites were operated by scammers or spammers.
Zscaler stated the sites fell into three main categories.
One category is typosquatting domains. These take advantage of users making spelling mistakes when typing a domain name into a browser.
"These domains are mostly parked. They are covered with advertising in the hope that users will click on one of those links since there is no useful content on the page," said Zscaler.
Another category is TV on PC scams where fraudsters are using the Olympics to attract people to spend money on watching the Games in real time.
The third category is "Made for Adsense" sites - highly targeted websites driving traffic from search engines that are light on content, but very heavy on advertising; which the site owner receives revenue from when an ad is clicked.
"We've seen a few other scams - mostly old tricks revisited to fit the Olympic Games," said a Zscaler representatives in a blog post. "I guess the good news is that most of the scams are targeting 'low hanging fruit' and don't involve sophisticated exploits."
Parties registering Olympic-themed domain names could also find themselves in legal hot water. According to the official London 2012 web site:
"... the Games' Marks must be protected in order to preserve their value, and therefore businesses cannot use the Games' Marks in domain names to create an association with the Games."
Among the Games' Marks are the following words:
Even non-business entities wanting to use a Games' Mark within a domain name were required to contact London 2012.
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