Brits lag behind European rivals in online brand protection

Brits lag behind European rivals in online brand protection

Leading UK brands less protected than German counterparts

UK businesses are at major risk of brand damage online because of poor domain name registration practices, according to a new report from domain name management specialist NetNames reveals.

The Cyberdaq report analyses how well protected the top 30 listed brands from the FTSE 100, DowJones, CAC 40, DAX 30, IBEX 35 and OMX 20 are online both domestically and internationally, and reveals leading UK brands are 24 per cent less protected online than their German rivals.

In fact, the report reveals that German companies have been better than all their European counterparts at securing their brands online, but still, on average, 33 per cent of top German brands are not secured online.

British and American firms fare even worse with their brands only 50 per cent secure online, leaving themselves wide open to attack from cybersquatters. While France and Denmark also performed better than the UK and the USA, both with only 40 per cent of their brands open to attack online.

The top 30 companies from the Spanish IBEX fared the worst in the study, with only a third of their web addresses had been registered by company officials.

"The threat from cybersquatters and online speculators is well known, yet so many businesses continue to take a myopic view of their online brand protection, " said Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer for NetNames.

"The Cyberdaq report reveals that a frightening number of multinational brands from leading world markets remain largely at risk from cyber-squatters and online speculators. The recent launch of the new .asia domain is a further warning to companies to consider their online brand protection strategies and avoid putting themselves at unnecessary risk via neglected registrations."

Netnames warns that the majority of companies fail to think about protecting their brands beyond the .com and national domain name suffix, for instance for UK companies.

While 82 per cent of all companies have secured their .com domain name, only a third have registered the equivalent .info domain.

According to NetNames, failing to register these domains has in the past proved a favoured route in for cyber-squatters.

By not covering their entire domain name portfolio, companies are leaving themselves open to attack from cyber-squatters, who are profiting from these brands lack of online protection. Cyber-squatters register domain names relating to these brands, often posting lucrative Google-style pay-per-click advertising to make money from people stumbling across their sites looking for official information.