The one thing that annoys me most about the topic of domain names is when trying to find a domain name for a new site only to find most of the names I come up with are already taken. Even more annoying is that these names are not being used for a site that relates to the domain name.
Domain squatting or cyber squatting is the term used for someone who registers a domain with no intention of using it, that would otherwise be used for a site relating to the domain name.
Let me give you an example, recently I came up with an idea for a site and there was a couple of domains that were ideal, keyword1keyword2.com and the plural version, so I checked to see if they were available. I found that both the names I thought would be perfect were taken. Both domain names were directed to a generic search page whose sole purpose is to make money off of direct type ins.
Now I haven’t given the names as I don’t want to give away my idea and I don’t want to give the sites any free advertising. This is not a one off incidence but something that happens quite often, especially with domain names with good or popular keywords. This activity is not illegal unless you use a trademark name, but it is against the ethics of what the internet is about.
There is a difference between domain squatting and domain parking and that difference is intent. If you register the domain with the intent of using it in the future for a purpose relating to the domain name then you have just parked the domain. If you register a domain with the sole intention of making money from reselling it or getting revenue from people typing in the domain name then that is domain squatting.
As I have explained it is not illegal it is just unethical, it is a free market economy and people are motivated by profit. I do not agree with domain squatting as it forces webmasters like myself to use domain names that are far from perfect, take this site on domain names, this name was far from my first choice. It also misleads internet users as the expect a site to be related to the keywords in the domain name making the internet less user friendly.