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<nettime> Merged banks' names cybersquatted
Pranesh Prakash on Thu, 18 Sep 2008 07:26:22 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Merged banks' names cybersquatted


>From the Beeb:
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7621647.stm

"Merged banks' names cybersquatted"

Internet addresses corresponding to recent bank mergers are already
being hoarded and sold online.

In "cybersquatting", likely addresses are bought cheaply in the hope
of selling to the businesses involved, or as a medium for advertising.

Domain names for the merged Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as well as
for Lloyds TSB/HBOS have been snapped up.

In one case, the domain name has already been listed on eBay, with the
site directing visitors to the auction.

As reports of Lehman Brothers' intent to sell itself first surfaced
last Friday, cybersquatters had already spotted Barclays, HSBC and
Bank of America as potential buyers.

Accordingly, barclayslehman.com, hsbclehman.com,
hsbclehmanbrothers.com and bofalehman.com had been acquired.

With the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America this week,
cybersquatters registered bankofamericamerrilllynch.com and
bofaml.com.

In the UK, speculation surrounding the merger of Lloyds TSB with HBOS
prompted yet more cybersquatting, so that now lloydstsbhbos.com and
hboslloydstsb.com are owned.

"It shows how there are opportunists out there waiting to pounce on
any event," says Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer of
NetNames.

"We've seen it in the case of celebrity with David Beckham going to LA
Galaxy, we've seen it in the case of tragedy, with Princess Diana's
death. There's a subtle twist on the whole thing now, which is the
anticipation of the event."

'Click-through value'

Many cybersquatters have pay-per-click ads as revenue generators while
awaiting potential buyers.

"Back in the mists of time, these names had a capital value and could
be exchanged for cash," says Mr Robinson.

"There's another value they have nowadays and that's a click-through
value, a cash flow that they generate in the whole world of online
advertising.

"There's even automated software that will populate a website with
relevant content."

The speculative HSBC/Lehman site, for example, looks like a news site
about the myriad mergers and movements but features Google adverts
along the margins.

In the case of bankofamericamerrilllynch.com, the object is more
apparent; a visit to the site directs visitors to an eBay auction in
which the domain name is for sale.

"The lesson has been there for a while for anyone working in the
mergers and acquisitions area that this is a key area to focus on in
the due diligence process," Mr Robinson says.

"One can't wait until after the deal is announced or the product is launched."
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/7621647.stm

Published: 2008/09/17 17:32:18 GMT

(c) BBC MMVIII


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