A Queensland blogger has apologised after it was revealed her company had registered similar domain names to her rivals and redirected them to her website.
Jody Allen, founder and chief content editor at Stay at Home Mum, has been accused of domain squatting and buying similar domains to her competitors in order to increase traffic to her own website.
Domain squatting describes when someone registers a domain name with the intent to sell it to the person or business who owns the trademark of that name at an inflated price.
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Katrina Springer, the owner of Australian blog The Organised Housewife, was one of the bloggers who raised the alarm in a Facebook post, saying a similar domain to her website was being redirected to Stay at Home Mum.
“I don’t know why they would want to do this to me, but I am obviously saddened and confused as they are trying to gain from my branding,” said Springer.
“Please share this with all bloggers, business and website owners you know, so they can understand the importance of protecting their brand and purchasing all variations of their domain name. I would hate for this to happen to them,” she said.
The Organised Housewife uses the domain theorganisedhousewife.com.au, and Springer said the domain organisedhousewife.com.au had been redirecting visitors to Stay at Home Mum.
According to the Stay at Home Mum Facebook page, the business has discussed the matter with three individuals and plans to transfer domains without money “changing hands”.
However, at the time of publication, organisedhousewife.com.au was redirecting visitors to The Organised Housewife.
Jody Allen was contacted for comment but did not respond before deadline. In a video posted online, she apologised for her actions and said she was acting on bad advice.
“I solely take responsibility for this bad decision and I’d like to apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that has been directly affected,” she said. Michelle Gamble, founder and chief executive of Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany the lesson to be learnt is to protect your domain name and secure other online assets such as social media usernames.
“The first thing is that people who are writing blogs need to understand is that they are running a business,” says Gamble.
“They should see their publication as a brand like any other publication and they should be taking into account brand protection.”
Gamble says business owners also need to be aware that negative publicity can spread very rapidly on the internet.
“The people who are blogging have a publishing platform so if you’re going to do things out of integrity, expect it to be publicised,” she says.