Digital Lock

Crypto Brand Protection

New crypto businesses need to establish a strong track record to prove that they can be trusted, bring in and keep new customers.  Unfortunately there are more than a few individuals out there keen on just taking the money and running.  In the event that they are not caught out they will start all over again with a new brand further jeopardising the honest enterprise.  Other businesses launch with insufficient funds or industry experience further diluting the pool of reliable providers.  All efforts to create a new trustworthy reputation can easily be ruined by other enterprises with similar names, branding and web presence.  This ‘competition’ could be accidental or a deliberate attempt to impersonate and defraud the customer.

Established concerns are also under threat from Intellectual Property theft even if they have no immediate plans to move onto the crypto scene.  Trademarks might be registered but it is ultimately the property owner who needs to track down misuse and take action.  In the early days of the World Wide Web unscrupulous types would indulge in cyber-squatting.  Buying up domain names for major brands and selling them on when those same brands launched into cyberspace.  This is now illegal and established organisations generally are in control of their web and social media presence.  They are still vulnerable to suppliers of fake digital goods.   NFTs for example might be marketed to support a well-known brand without any participation from that brand.  In a similar manner to high street fake goods the original brand gains no income from this and suffers a loss of reputation.  Investors have not received what they expect.  Although quality can be hard to judge from a NFT any linked services bundled with the fake might not be what they seem.  If a token is bought in good faith but found to be counterfeit then any expected resale value is going to be low.

Fraudsters will attempt to get around any restriction on the use of established business names.  A homoglyph is a domain that pretends to belong to some other organisation.  By subtly changing one or more letters it imitates a well-known brand.   According to the Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2022 the most common character substitutions include (% of 1,700 homoglyph domains seen from January to July 2022):

  • 1 for I (25%)
  • i for 1 (12%)
  • q for  g (7%)
  • rn for m (6%)

These homoglyph domains are used to host websites or as email addresses impersonating the original brand.  Reputable domain agencies are unlikely to sell homoglyphs, 2,750,000 such domains were blocked in 2022.  Unfortunately dedicated businesses exist providing bespoke homoglyph domains matching a client’s chosen target organisation.

The plan behind brand protection is to look out for the impersonators and shut them down.  Search for similar brand names and duplications of text from official websites.  Also look out for Social Media entries with similar names and themes.  Image searches will show up copies of branding and trademarks.  Any suspect instances can be reported although there is no guarantee that any regulator will take them down or that the perpetrator will not swiftly launch another similar instance.  Use official websites and social media to ‘out’ the impersonators and strengthen the real brand.  Although a relatively simple strategy there is a lot of information out there, most of it harmless.  It helps to know what you are looking for and to use some automated tasks to lighten the overall load.  Working with a partner such as Secureweb3 will take most of the heavy lifting out of brand protection.

Getting in first and having a longer established web presence is also important although a handful of boilerplate web pages and text copied from existing sources is not going to cut it.  A business needs to show that it is experienced and knows what it is talking about.   Secureweb3 is ready to help with advice and original quality content.

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