The Trouble With Cameroon

Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming.

I’ve written before about my beef with the ever-growing number of top level domain names (TLDs) available for sale. TLDs are basically the suffixes of a URL, like .com, .edu, and .org.

My objection is that legitimate businesses may feel pressured to buy more and more domain names to keep cyber squatters or competitors from mimicking their domain name and extorting them for money or confusing their customers.

In addition to some of the conventional TLDs, there are also country-specific TLDs (think: .uk, .ca, .au). One of the more controversial country code top level domains (ccTLDs) is for the Republic of Cameroon, in west Central Africa. Its ccTLD is .cm – a mere keystroke short of .com.

This issue is teed up for a fight. In a complaint filed earlier this month, the owner of the NEXTDOOR trademark and alleges that an individual’s use of constitutes trademark infringement and cyberpiracy.

According to the complaint, is an online social network which took its name in 2010. In preparation for its launch in 2011, the company bought the domain name and applied for a trademark for NEXTDOOR.

The complaint contends that defendant, Raj Abhvanker, registered solely to confuse consumers over his affiliation with Nextdoor, especially through use of a confusingly similar domain name that is nothing more than a shell. Stay tuned.

And be careful about “.cm” – don’t assume it’s a typo.