What happens when Nominet suspends a domain name for fraudulent activity? Does it go back for sale? Does the affected brand owner buy it and maintain it as a defensive registration? What should happen?
In what is reportedly the first registry-led initiative to provide informative landing pages, Nominet has, together with the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), introduced new landing pages for domains that have been suspended due to criminal activity, such as using variations of legitimate web domains in order to sell counterfeit branded goods.
These landing pages will display a short message that the domain has been suspended, and will direct web users to a separate site that provides reporting capabilities and advice for potential victims of cybercrime.
PIPCU’s Detective Constable Weizmann Jacobs said of the initiative: “We work closely with Nominet to disrupt criminals who try to operate in the ‘.UK domain’. These law enforcement landing pages, which include advice and guidance for the public, help us in protecting consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods and protect their personal information when shopping online.”
The move follows a policy consultation from March this year (see our Lens blog post here) and is being rolled out as a pilot initiative, which will then be expanded next year to include the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Once the pilot has been concluded, Nominet states that it will assess its impact and report publicly on the next steps.
These landing pages are a welcome step forward in the fight against cybercrime and should serve to raise public awareness, providing a clear first port of call in instances of potential fraudulent activity.
“Criminal activity is as unacceptable online as it is offline, and the sale of counterfeit goods continues to result in innocent victims of cybercrime as consumers are duped by increasingly sophisticated websites that are not all they seem to be. Our new landing pages pilot seeks to provide real time education and advice to those who may have been victims of criminal activity at the point they attempt to access the website in question.” (Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry & Public Benefit, Nominet)