|Zyra .EU //// Zyra UK //// notes on the
dot EU scam //// down with
cybersquatters! //// Site Index
It's easy to be triumphal on seeing the enemy retreat, but such triumph has to be tempered with sadness at the damage they have done during the period of occupation. In Europe, "war" is not a fashionable term for use in idle political rhetoric. Success is seen in keeping hold of what's rightfully yours, and maintaining it.
Zyra had been in business on the Internet for many years and had seen various fashions for supposedly European domains come and go. Zyra carefully ignored these because they were generally "subdomains" and not really worth the virtual paper they weren't written on. See how to choose your website name for more about this. It was only when there was a European official declaration that it became a serious matter.
If you're running a shop and business is good, you have a reputation to keep up, and you know that people respect a good long-standing business that they can rely on. Your business name over the shop is an identity by which customers know you. Imagine then, as the proprietor of a shop, discovering that a beggarly impostor had set up a tent in the street just outside your shop and had put on a cardboard placard YOUR business name with "European Division" scrawled on it!
Most of your customers would just laugh and poke fun at the parody of the joker pretending to be you, or a "European" version of you, but really it could be a nuisance. The problem with trying to get rid of squatters on your good name is that the way the administration works, they have been allowed to get away with it. This is described as the Dot EU Scam and is referenced by various people, some of whom have also been victim to the scam.
At first the
presence of a nuisance camped outside your business with
your name on it, was merely annoying, and their purveying
of disreputable products and services at the expense of
your good business name was largely something to be
ignored. However, the story takes a more sinister tone
when the impostor writes to you and says something like
"I run a business similar to yours and I think we
A few quick searches revealed that the problem was widespread and that a similar message (but with different names substituted) had been sent to thousands of already established websites. I considered the message had approximately the level of business repute of a ransom note with letters torn out of the newspaper. At the time, the webspace zyra.eu was occupied by a typical cybersquatter scam site with loads of ridiculous search results pasted in. Clearly the whole thing was a sham, and the best tactic was to file the message in the evidence file and otherwise to ignore it. A copy of the message arrived the next day and that too was filed along with other evidence.
In case anyone's wondering who the people were, claiming to be "KJ INvestments", this is explained in more detail by other sites documenting the EU Domain Scam. However, it's important to realise this has nothing to do with various genuine companies whose names are KJ Investments, or similar.
On the notion that the squatters of the domain were going to bring business to the site, it is interesting to note that at the time of expiry, during the first two weeks of test run, the total number of visitors was: 5. (and at least three of those were a self-test to check the running total). So, not exactly much business being attracted from it then.
Whoever the cybersquatters were, they had no legitimate reason to be there, and my thoughts were that the situation was easy to recognise, that the cybersquatters had got a list of websites which were doing quite well and then they were seeing if they could get some money out of them!
Further searches revealed that several notable companies were also being approached with such an "offer" and were having no such nonsense. They were going for WIPO trials and doing the whole legal expensive thing, which is a bit like calling the council pest exterminator in to get rid of a fly that's on your window.
However, unlike the problem with Internic where hijackers get huge discounts, the EU Domain Registry had at least had the good sense to peg the bottom end of the price scale, so the cybersquatters had to pay a price not totally dissimilar to everyone else! This, according to some commentators, meant that the thousands of domains being kept for ransom were actually costing the cybersquatters an estimated half a million euros.
Although the cybersquatters were causing me a lot of heartache, the situation is similar to that versus phone nuisance callers, and I carefully ignored them and kept my peace and after an immense amount of patience, I saw the cybersquatters give up. They neglected to renew the domain, as I was clearly not going to pay them or to respond, and when the year expired, I acquired the domain. At last, success for the honest person!
Now the occupying forces have retreated, the story can be told, including the publishing of that sinister message.
Here are some summary points:
* Don't give in to blackmail.
* If you suffer from a problem, do some searches to see if other people are suffering from the same thing.
* Understand that the Internet is The International Net and we all have global coverage. If you are .net then you are everywhere, but you're equally everywhere if you are .org.uk ! Website demographics have very little to do with domain name.
* If someone has got their claws into you, it does not mean they are going to "improve your business" or "bring clients to you". It's a bit like someone offering you "protection", and it being found out to be a Protection Racket.
* You don't have to accept at face-value stuff which arrives in e-mails. Whether the senders claim to be in Europe or Nigeria, you have to be cautious and sceptical to save yourself a lot of trouble. See Rogues Gallery
* After the trouble is over, we don't forget. We remember, so we are wary to avoid the possibility of similar things happening again. In the modern times, November 11th Remembrance Day is a much bigger event than the anniversary of Victory in Europe / VE Day (May 8th).