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Typosquatting And Australian Domain Names

March 5, 2018

Many registrants may not be aware of typosquatting rules in place for Australian domain names - here's a brief look at what typosquatting is and how the rules work.

What Is Typosquatting?

Typosquatting is the practice of registering the misspelled version of an existing domain name in an effort to scoop up wayward traffic e.g. browser type-in mistakes. This may be for the purposes of monetisation (e.g. selling ads) or even to tarnish the reputation of an established brand name.

Typosquatting In The AU Domain Space

Generally speaking, typosquatting isn't such an issue with .au domains given general eligibility criteria is rather strict. However, there are specific rules in relation to the practice that have been in place for nearly a decade that can help to quickly deal with instances where they occur.

auDA Rules Related To Typosquatting

au Domain Administration (auDA), which is the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space, prohibits misspelled domain names registered with the intention of trading on another's reputation; be it an entity, person or brand. Prohibited misspellings include:

.. or any other instance of deliberate misspelling.

Reporting Typosquatting And Further Action

The process is fairly simple - lodging a complaint with auDA will trigger an investigation if the complaint is found to have merit. Depending on the results of that investigation, the registrant will be contacted and directed to justify the registration. The registrar of record will also be notified of the case.

If the registrant doesn't reply or the reply doesn't justify holding that name, auDA will direct the registrar to delete the domain name - it will not be transferred to the complainant. However, if while the domain name is still in “serverUpdateProhibited” and “serverHold” status (which are part of normal domain expiry processes), the registrant is able to demonstrate the name is not a prohibited misspelling, auDA will instruct the registrar to reinstate it.

For further information, read the full 2008-09 - Prohibition on Misspellings Policy.

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