The idea that someone could tarnish a brand name by cyber- squatting on, say, Vodafone.sucks, ManchesterUnited.sucks or LloydsBank.sucks led to a flurry of registrations by the companies themselves. To take control of their trademarks on this domain, firms had to cough up around $2,500 per year (it’s much cheaper for non-trademarked names) – leading to complaints that Vox Populi, the firm that manages the registry, was holding brands to ransom.

Brand protection company NetNames.com filed a compliant with the European Commission, saying Vox Populi had created a “predatory pricing model” in a “blatant attempt to extort revenues from brand owners.”

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