Ever heard of cybersquatting? It is the act of buying up domain names of well-known company or brand names in the hope of reselling them at a profit. Its an age old practice that has seen some of the world’s most prominent brands fall victim. In 2000, BBC won back the rights to a domain BBCNews.com, which had been taken over by a cybersquatter. Actress Julia Roberts had at one point had someone takeover JuliaRoberts.com, while at one point, an Arsenal fan took over ManchesterUnitedFC.com. In recent times, a random guy managed to buy the domain Google.com albeit for a minute for a measly sum of $12. Google bought back the domain and paid the guy for it, monies which he donated to charity.
In Kenya, cybersquatting cases tend to escalate close to the election year and this seems to be the case with the website Uhuru.co.ke. The website, which was launched in 2011, was widely used in the 2013 elections and was used to showcase the President’s bio as well as the Jubilee party manifesto. It was also for the longest time on the President’s Official Twitter account. The cybersquatter who has taken over the website wants 10,000 Euros for the website which amounts to Kshs. 1.1 Million to release the domain. We are not sure how exactly the digital guys at the Presidency forgot to renew this domain, but that is certainly a hefty sum to pay.