The internet is like the open ocean – it’s a big place, and there are many potential threats. Domain grabbers are like the sharks of these digital waters. They prey on South African businesses by snapping up valuable domains to sell at inflated prices. Follow our tips to avoid these scams when registering your ideal domain name.

What Are Domain Grabbers and How Do They Work in South Africa?

Domain grabbers are sometimes called “cybersquatters.” They secure potentially high-value domain names with the intent of reselling them at a major markup to businesses that need them later. In essence, they temporarily occupy potentially valuable names as digital squatters, hoping to profit when these names come into demand.

Domain grabbers utilise automated tools to identify and acquire domains that match existing business names, brands, products, locations, and keywords as soon as they become available.

When new companies register, domain grabbers swoop in to claim associated domain names that could later command premium resale rates. Their goal is to hold onto your ideal domain until you agree to their high fees.

In South Africa, domain grabbers frequently target newly-registered businesses that have not yet purchased domains. They bet that companies will eventually pay large sums to reclaim their desired domains. While legal, these practices often amount to digital extortion, and online businesses should be aware of their risks.

Other common domain grabber tactics used in South Africa include:

  • Buying up domains similar to major brands and reselling them at a premium
  • Scooping domains mentioned in business sale listings and press releases
  • Registering domains matching newly trademarked names
  • Charging extremely high rates when domains expire
  • Acquiring domains with names that are relevant to popular events and reselling them

While some grabbers aim to profit from domains via ads or affiliate links, most resell directly to businesses by capitalising on legal loopholes. They bank on companies paying premium rates once their brands grow, and they need more relevant domains.

How to Avoid Domain Grabbing Scams in South Africa

Luckily, there are steps you can take to steer clear of predatory domain practices:

  • Register domains early, even before launching
  • Closely monitor brands and trademarks for cybersquatter registrations
  • Use trusted registrars like 1-grid that safeguard customers
  • Understand your legal rights against unlawful cybersquatting
  • Obtain domains with potential typos and alternate wording to prevent grabber “hostage situations”

1-grid’s all-inclusive Company Registration service can also help to protect you from domain grabbing scams. We secure your ideal domain at the same time as handling the legal and administrative aspects of registering your company. This means that your domain is secure before potential grabbers take notice. Plus, you get some of our best services for six months at a discount!

Taking preventative steps now avoids the headache of reclaiming domains later down the road. It also prevents exploitative domain grabbers from profiting off your hard-earned success down the road. Be aware of the risks, and stop exploitative domain grabbers from capitalising on your business’s growth.