unnamed-150x73Every up-and-coming brand wants traffic, leads, and customers – these goals are clearly identified and frequently mentioned. But, there is another ambition shared by marketers of the world that isn’t admitted as openly: the desire for fame.

Brands want to be widely known and loved and somehow make their mark. Netflix is a perfect example of what to aspire to. Not only is their customer base huge, but they’ve created a legacy. A key point to remember, though, is that there is a price that comes with fame. Since Netflix.com is so popular, it’s also a huge target for online scammers working to tarnish the name.

Dot .OM, the domain extension for the country of Oman, is getting press for all the wrong reasons. Recently, scammers registered a site Netflix – dot- om – and infected visitors with malware. ThreatPost.com wrote a terrific piece summarizing the threat and the different levels involved in what, to many users, looks like a legitimate website.

Netflix.com is known world-wide as the website of a highly esteemed brand. Netflix has an undeniable following of customers who are also fans — the ultimate goal of every brand. Netflix.com consequently has a high amount of daily traffic.

Dot .OM presents an interesting problem because it can be easily mistyped for the most popular domain registry on earth – Dot .COM. The Dot .COM registry is the 800 lb. gorilla of the Internet, as over 70% of the entire global web exists in the space. The dominance of Dot .COM is one of the reasons that the folks that run the Internet, ICANN (The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), allowed almost a thousand new domain extensions to launch to the right of the dot in order to create a more evenly proportioned online community. That ideal, however, has been slow to take hold, as Dot .COM has maintained its dominance. As a point of comparison, the leading New Top Level Domain Registry as of this writing is Dot .XYZ, with 2,634,021 registered domains. Dot .COM has more than 125 million domains.

This type of online threat is extremely dangerous for a company like Netflix and could lead to serious reputational damages. If you’re putting your brand out there online and working to amplify your exposure while enhancing your reputation, do so cautiously. You should continue to grow brand awareness — but keep in mind that well-known brand domains, like Netflix.com, are at risk, and it’s crucial to understand how to protect all that you have at stake (your brand and your customers) as proactively as possible.

While users have to be careful about what they type, and where they end up, it is important for companies to make sure their name is not becoming an easy landing spot for customers or users to get a virus or scammed unknowingly. Unfortunately, the new domain registries and many country codes like .OM, .CM, .CN and others, present terrific opportunities for scammers to take advantage of close proximity to legitimate companies and take advantage of unsuspecting users. 

Sites with high direct traffic, like Netflix.com, are the most susceptible to security threats and should be taking precautionary measures to ensure their name is not degraded. A minor mistype of a URL could result in the loss of life-long brand advocates — the absolute worst kind of typo.

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