As football fans enjoy the excitement of the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship, online speculators are increasingly attempting to take advantage of fans wanting to gamble on the competition. However, in the weeks building up to the tournament cybersquatters have been registering numerous domain names which lexically relate to Euro 2008 and betting. These domains have been furnished with lucrative pay-per click advertising (PPC) websites designed to make money from unsuspecting browsers.

According to research by domain name management specialist NetNames, there were multiple domain names, registered in the UK, which were either parked or cybersquatted – all of which included PPC advertising websites. These included www.beteuro2008.co.uk, www.euro2008betting.co.uk and, in line with a distinctly British tradition, www.euro2008-sweepstake.com.

In addition to the cybersquatted domains, the UK based registrants of a further three domains (www.beteuro2008.com, www.beteuro2008.info, www.beteuro2008.net) were clearly seeking to cash in on potential gamblers by automatically redirecting the browser to third party online gambling sites. These offered traditional casino games such as poker and blackjack but no option to bet on live sports.

As well as those registered in the UK, there were more than fifty domains registered from around the world which referred to Euro 2008 and betting. One US based cybersquatter had registered seven domains around the tournament favourites, including Germany, Spain and Italy, but had obviously neglected to follow key developments as, despite England’s failed bid to qualify, domains included: www.englandeuro2008.co.uk and www.englandeuro2008.com.

Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames commented: “An event as high profile and eagerly anticipated as Euro 2008 will have been on the radar for cybersquatters and online speculators for a considerable time. In practical terms, it is very difficult to stop negative websites and click farms appearing, but by leaving obvious domains unregistered, the bone fide bookmakers and competition organisers have provided the means not only for cybersquatters but also for their competitors to take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer.”

www.netnames.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 26th June 2008