If you’ve been on the Web long enough, you would’ve probably heard about domain squatting, which is basically a third party registering the domain of some entity with legal rights to that name or trademark. The intent is to either resell the name at exorbitant prices, or put up malicious websites or sites that are commercial in nature (but not owned by the trademark owner).
Domain squatting or cybersquatting is big business, and the legal implications are not always as simple as black and white. There are intellectual property laws that apply, or even dispute resolution policies, but jurisdiction is not always clear. So it’s usually common sense for businesses, trademark name owners and even individuals to register ahead their desired domain names, to avoid potential conflict.
Now, with URL redirection services becoming popular (such as with Twitter and other microblogging services, which allow only limited characters per post), redirection URL squatting can also be a problem. While previously tinyurl and most other redirection services only offered random or sequential extensions, nowadays you can customize the few characters that come after tinyurl.com/ . And with such customization comes the potential for abuse.
LouisGray.com reports of URL redirection abuse. tinyurl.com/dell has been redirected to a porn site. tinyurl.com/amazon, meanwhile has been redirected to an affiliate site, with the intent of the owner earning affiliate commissions from Amazon sales. Sure, the latter may be a grey area bordering on the legitimate, but the use of the /amazon extension might be questionable.
So if you intend to protect your tinyurl “name” then now’s the time to register.