Cybersquatting is the bad-faith use of a domain name confusingly similar to an existing trademark, for example Cybersquatters often conduct a variety of illegal and illicit practices: They can deliver malware, sell counterfeit goods, host phishing schemes, steal identities, and make money from deceptive advertising ruses. They also often use highly sophisticated automated programs to acquire Internet domain names on a massive scale, which means they exploit Internet users on a massive scale.


The act of typing a Web address into a browser’s address bar. While it typically leads to higher conversion rates, it also leads to typos and other user errors that are often capitalized on by cybersquatters.


This is the web address or URL of a website, translated into a name that is easier to remember than the underlying Internet Protocol address, which is a string of numbers. “”, for example, is a domain name.


The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – that is a complicated string of numbers. These strings are called Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Because they are hard to remember, the DNS allows for a string of letters known as a domain name to correspond with an IP address. Instead of typing, you can type DNS is a mnemonic device that makes addresses easier to remember. The DNS translates the domain name you type into the corresponding IP address, and connects you to your desired website. The DNS also enables email to function properly, so the email you send will reach the intended recipient.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation responsible for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country-code (ccTLD) top-level domain name system management, and root server system management. As a private-public partnership, ICANN says it is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.


IP is the communications protocol underlying the Internet that allows large, geographically diverse networks of computers to communicate with each other quickly and economically over a variety of physical links. An Internet Protocol address is the numerical address by which a location in the Internet is identified. Computers on the Internet use IP addresses to route traffic and establish connections among themselves. People generally rely on the user-friendly string of letters made possible by the Domain Name System (DNS).


Software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s informed consent. Refers to a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code including spyware.


Temporary use of a mandatory name server offered by a domain registrar until the registrant purchases a hosting plan or points the DNS to a different site.


A technique that charges advertisers a fee each time an Internet user clicks on a link served via keyword relevance; occurs on sites in which domain name registrants serve recycled search engine ads to users who practice direct navigation; PPC Web sites are collections of sponsored links.


Phishing is a method bad actors use to steal consumers’ personally identifiable information and financial account credentials. Social engineering schemes use spoofed emails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords, and social security numbers. Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers, and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond. Technical subterfuge schemes plant malware onto PCs to steal credentials directly or to misdirect users to fraudulent sites or proxy servers.

A registrant is an individual, company, non-profit, or entity that purchases a second-level domain name from a registrar.


Second-level domain names attached to gTLDs such as .COM, .BIZ, .INFO, .NET, .ORG and others may be purchased through registrars or companies that have bought up vast tracts of space to the left of the dot in order to resell that space to those who wish to create a website.


The Registry is the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each gTLD. The registry operator keeps the master database and generates the “zone file” which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from gTLDs anywhere in the world. Internet users don’t interact directly with the registry operator; users can register domain names in gTLDs by using an ICANN-Accredited Registrar.


TLDs are the phrases at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. They appear in domain names to the right of the dot, such as “.net” in “”. They are also known as generic TLDs or gTLDs. The administrator for a TLD controls the second-level domain names attached to the TLD. Commonly used TLDs include .COM, .NET, .EDU, .INFO, etc. Within the next 18 months or so, an additional 1,400 gTLDs will be added to the Internet landscape.


ICANN-accredited registrars must follow a uniform domain-name dispute-resolution policy under which disputes over entitlement to a domain name registration are ordinarily resolved by the courts. The registrar implements the court ruling. In disputes involving abusive registrations made by cybersquatters, the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delay of court litigation. For more details on the UDRP, see the ICANN UDRP page.


Whois (not an acronym and pronounced “who is”) is used to obtain information about the registration of a domain name or IP address. ICANN’s gTLD agreements require registries and registrars to offer an interactive web page providing free public access to data on registered names. That data is commonly referred to as “WHOIS data,” and includes domain name registration creation and expiration dates, contact information for the registrant, and designated administrative and technical contacts.

Whois services are typically used to identify domain name holders for business purposes and to identify parties who are able to correct technical problems associated with the registered domain name.