French wines victims of cybersquatting
During the industry wine fair season, Keep Alert studied the domain names of French vineyards. A substantial number of vineyards and wine makers are victims of domain abuse and cybersquatting.
Keep Alert selected the first wines of the official Bordeaux Wines classification of 1855 as Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux and Château Mouton Rothschild.
Keep Alert researched the names of these five vineyards among each Top Level Domains (TLDs) and detected the registered domain names identical, similar or confusingly similar to their trademarks. The study was extended to domain names containing the words Haut Brion, Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Mouton.
The number of results was about one hundred for Haut Brion, five hundred for Margaux, one thousand for Mouton and several thousand for Latour.
Many domain names are registered by the trademarks owners. However, the vineyards do not have an efficient management system for their own domain names. Their portfolio is a bunch of inactive domains, registrar waiting pages (eg latour.asia) or even parking pages (eg chateaumoutonrothschild.tv).
Infringements in every TLD
The main infringements by third parties are parking pages with sponsored links. These pages (eg high-chateau-brion.info, chateaulafite.com ...) are typically common cases of cybersquatting.
The names of the vineyards are often associated with terms such as "buy" like buychateauhautbrion.com, buychateaumargaux.com or buylafiterothschild.com. The prefix "my" is also often used. A cybersquatter has even had the audacity to register two prestigious domain names of the Rothschild universe mylafiterothschild.com and mymoutonrothschild.com.
These famous wines are victims of fraudulent registrations in many TLDs. The German .DE, the world's second biggest TLD is used for example with the fraudulent chateau-latour.de, haut-brion.de or chateau-mouton-rothschild.de.
Someone in Taiwan has built a “cellar” of domain names around the trademark Lafite as lafite.com.tw. A Russian uses margaux.ru for its website in Cyrillic including the name and the visual of the vineyard. Some online shops are of course selling unauthorized wines as lafite.cz or winehautbrion.com. A Chinese trader has registered the domain name lafite.tel and invites users to contact him to buy wine.
Domain names are an area where the major vineyards still need to progress.