VeriSign unveils tools to combat cybersquatting

Digital trust services vendor VeriSign has launched a suite of brand management services to help companies protect their brands...

Digital trust services vendor VeriSign has launched a suite of brand management services to help companies protect their brands and trademarks online from cybersquatters and other digital foes.

Digital Brand Management Services offer two sets of features to VeriSign customers: Registration and name services, and trademark protection and promotion services, said Maigread Eichten, VeriSign's vice-president of digital brand management services.

The registration services will scour registries of Web addresses to look for sites that use companies' names or the names of their products. A list of those sites will then be returned to the client so that the company can either register those names, attempt to buy them from their current owners or leave them alone, Eichten said.

The launch underlines the increasing complexity that companies face in protecting their corporate identities online. The threat of cybersquatting has increased along with the influx of new domain name suffixes such as ".info" and ".biz", leaving many businesses at a loss as to how to protect all their brands and intellectual property, VeriSign said.

The digital brand protection service will search the Web for sites that use a firm's trademarked materials, such as reports, logos or art, and notify clients about that use, said Sean Downey, VeriSign's director of digital brand management services.

Companies will then be able to take action against those sites or sign licensing deals with them, he added. The service will also support the use of keywords in place of full Web addresses, as well as Web address shortcuts for wireless devices.

As part of the announcement, VeriSign said it would acquire 1GlobalPlace, which provides international domain name registration. VeriSign said it has also entered into a definitive agreement to buy NameEngine, a domain name and intellectual property management firm. The deals have a combined value of $11m (£8m).

VeriSign has teamed up with Cyveillance and Cobion to provide the brand and trademark services. The two companies will provide "spidering" technology, which scours the Web looking for information, Eichten said.

Additionally, VeriSign is incorporating a Digital Brand Partnership Programme, which allows its partners to provide digital brand management services to their clients. Marketing and advertising giant Young & Rubicam and interactive marketing agency SF Interactive have already signed up to the programme.

The services are available immediately and cost between $5,000 and $100,000.

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