08.02.2024 | by Lili
Your domain name is your digital calling card. Securing a great domain name for your brand is as important today as choosing your product’s name. But with the advent of new TLDs and lately, Web 3.0 domains, brands may have to secure more than a single domain name for themselves.
AVM, the manufacturer of FRITZ!Box products had to learn that lesson the hard way.
Berlin-based AVM offers hardware and software solutions for broadband connections and smart home applications. As the company’s flagship hardware product family is called FRITZ!Box, users can log into their home router and LAN system via the domain name fritz.box. Within AVM’s home network, this domain name is then translated to the network’s IP address, allowing users to access their home systems.
Screenshot of https://en.avm.de/products/fritzbox/
However, it seems that AVM hasn’t actually secured the domain name fritz.box on the internet in general. This is why, on 22 January 2024, another person or entity was able to purchase the domain name for themselves and launch their own website. At first, NFT ads appeared on the site, but at the time of writing this article, fritz.box leads to a 404 - Not found error message.
Why would someone do this? Well, there are multiple potential explanations behind the story.
Cybersquatters tend to purchase various domains that may be valuable for a brand for a regular fee, then proceed to offer to sell it to the brand for a much higher price. This could very well have happened here; with fritz.box being available for sale, cybersquatters may have believed this to be a great opportunity to make some money.
A more sinister explanation is when fraudsters grab a domain, mimic the real website of the brand or service the domain name refers to, and try to get the original brand’s customers to give them their valuable data. Since FRITZ!Box is a router, sensitive passwords and other login data could very well be in danger.
Luckily, an NFT ad site, then a subsequent 404 error message is unlikely to fool AVM’s customers into believing they’d reached their home network, which is why the first explanation seems more applicable in this case.
Then, of course, this could be a total coincidence. A person on the other side of the world and entirely unaware of FRITZ!Box’s existence could theoretically come up with the name Fritz Box for their product and buy the corresponding domain name.
Whatever happened, the lesson is clear: you have to secure domain names that could be linked to your brand.
But with millions of TLD and brand/product name combinations available, no brand can preemptively purchase every potential domain name.
Luckily, there’s another solution.
The fritz.box situation was relatively quickly uncovered. However, many of these infringing domain cases remain undetected and can cause massive harm to consumers and brands alike for as long as they stay hidden. Which is why it’s important to regularly check if someone has registered a domain name that could be linked to your brand.
globaleyez’s domain monitoring service does exactly that. With highly scalable keyword-based searches, we can quickly detect if your brand or product name, or misspelled versions of them appear as a domain name with any TLD. We monitor new domain registrations, and we can also search meta descriptions, keywords and HTML text for any sign of infringement.
If the website is indeed infringing on your IP rights, we enforce your rights and demand its removal from the internet. If it turns out that the domain owners are cybersquatting, we can conduct covert domain purchases and buy the domain for you for a lower price.
The internet is vast and keeping all potential domain names in sight is impossible without comprehensive domain monitoring. Reach out to us and find out how globaleyez can protect your brand against domain fraud!