Investment giant BlackRock has taken legal action against the owners of 44 internet domain names that it alleges are engaging in fraudulent activities and taking advantage of its reputation. The asset manager has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, claiming that the domains, which include keywords such as ‘Blackrock’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘capital’, ‘crypto’, and ‘investments’, were registered in bad faith.
BlackRock accuses the owners of these domains of profiting from consumer confusion and diverting traffic through tactics including pay-per-click ads, malware, and email phishing attacks. The company’s lawyers from Wiley Rein LLP referred to studies showing that a majority of the most popular websites on the internet are a target of ‘typosquatting’, where domains are registered using typographical errors of legitimate sites. BlackRock alleges that the entities in question have violated the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act by registering domains that are confusingly similar to its own.
In their legal complaint, BlackRock also seeks to highlight some specific cryptocurrency-related domain names that they discovered during their investigation. One domain, blackrock-crypto dot net, failed to open, while another, crypto-blackrock dot com, offered web design services. However, most of the domains tested by Cointelegraph did not open or were typical examples of cybersquatting.
To identify the owners of these domains, BlackRock conducted a lookup on publicly available domain registration data from the Whois database. The company is now seeking the transfer of these offending domains to its control, along with damages and injunctions against further cybersquatting and infringement of its trademarks, including BLACKROCK, ALADDIN, and BLK.
Copycat domain names are often used in conjunction with advertising providers such as Google and Facebook to promote scams or disseminate malware. Cointelegraph previously reported that victims have lost over $4 million to fake websites promoted using Google Ads. The use of misleading and fraudulent domain names continues to be a major concern within the crypto industry, with companies and regulators alike taking steps to combat these illicit practices.
BlackRock’s legal action against the entities behind these scammy domains is part of its ongoing effort to protect its reputation and the interests of its clients. This case serves as a reminder to both investors and the general public to exercise caution when engaging with online platforms and to verify the authenticity of websites before providing any personal or financial information.
The outcome of this legal complaint will be closely watched by other companies in the investment and cryptocurrency space, as it could set a precedent for future cases involving fraudulent domain names. In the meantime, it is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and report any suspicious online activities to the appropriate authorities.