BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, is taking legal action to curb the proliferation of deceptive domain names and “typosquatting” websites attempting to exploit its brand name.
In a move initiated on October 10th, BlackRock filed a legal complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the owners of 44 internet domain names. These domains contain keywords like “Blackrock,” “Aladdin,” “capital,” “crypto,” and “investments.”
The asset management giant alleges that these domains were registered in bad faith with the intention of capitalizing on consumer confusion and diverting online traffic through various means, including pay-per-click advertisements, malware, and email phishing schemes.
BlackRock’s legal team, represented by Wiley Rein LLP, referred to studies indicating that over 95% of the 500 most popular websites on the internet are susceptible to ‘typosquatting.’ This practice involves registering a domain that closely resembles a legitimate site but includes typographical errors.
BlackRock contends that the entities behind these domains have violated the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act by registering domains that are confusingly similar to its own.
Among the registered domain names, a few were crypto-related, such as “blackrock-crypto.net” (which did not open) and “crypto-blackrock.com” (offering web design services). However, many of the domains that were investigated either did not open or appeared to be typical cases of cybersquatting.
To identify the owners, BlackRock examined publicly available domain registration data from the Whois database. The company is seeking the transfer of these infringing domains under its control, as well as damages and injunctions against future cybersquatting and trademark infringement involving the terms BLACKROCK, ALADDIN, and BLK.
Copycat domain names are frequently used in tandem with advertising platforms like Google and Facebook to promote scams or distribute malware.