By Ben Simmons

Sky F1, the first dedicated F1 channel to launch in the UK, has already been targeted by opportunist ‘cybersquatters’ before the cars have even revved up for the new season.

The new channel, which Sky launched after controversially securing the rights from a deal with the BBC, has failed to register www.skysportsf1.com and www.skysportsf1hd.com, losing both to online opportunists who ‘squat’ on the domains, holding them to ransom.

Sky is not alone in being targeting by cybersquatters. New Sky Sports F1 presenter Georgie Thompson has also lost her UK domain www.georgiethompson.co.uk to a supposed fan who has posted celebrity news on the new starlet surrounded by lucrative Google ads. Jenson Button, the 2009 World Champion, has also lost www.jensonbutton.co.uk, which is also being sold to the highest bidder.

Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for Names.co.uk, thinks that Sky have overlooked the importance of securing its domain names: “Sky are bringing the latest technology into watching F1 so it’s surprising to see them lose the race to secure the likely web domain names for their new channel. As they have other .com and .co.uk sites registered for Sky F1, Martin Brundle and other sports it does seem that they do realise the value of owning these domain names.”

“Recently we’ve seen their rivals at Virgin Media, wrestle to regain control of the virgin.xxx domain name so this yet another oversight from Rupert Murdoch’s News International. These cases highlight the importance of registering each permutation of your company name online.”

“At Names.co.uk we like to say that ‘everything starts with your domain name’ and we really feel that Sky’s oversight shows that businesses of all shapes and sizes should think carefully about their web address before launching a new product or service. Having the right domain with a memorable name can be a key step to helping search engines find you and helping to build a successful company.”

In the US a federal law known as the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act is in place to protect brands online. However in Europe the laws are far less prescriptive making retrieval of lost domain names significantly more difficult involving arbitration procedures for disputed Domains.


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