FAQ
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What is Verify4Lookalike Service?
How is "Look Alike" Defined?
Who is the Target Audience for the Service?
How Is it beneficial to the Netizens?
Does VLAS provide Legal Immunity?
Does VLAS support Cyber Squatting?
Can I use this service to a name yet to be Registered?
Does VLAS offer Arbitration Service?
Is there a Cost for the Service?
How Can you Associate with this Service?
 

What is Verify4Lookalike Service?
 

Verify4lookalike is a service to the Netizen community to assist in the resolution of common Domain Name Disputes, by providing an easy means for Netizens to ask a site "Who are You Not?". For example, if a Netizen comes across a site www.clinton.com, there may be a possibility of thinking that the site belongs to the Ex-president of US because he is a celebrity owner of the name. 

But if the site actually belongs to some other  Clinton, how do we reconcile the situation?. Do we say that this Clinton has no right to own the Domain name?. Unfortunately, we  are presently adopting this stance which is grossly unfair to the Clinton who registered the domain  first and also has a claim on the name because his parents have given him that name.

Verify4lookalike service provides access to Netizens visiting the www.clinton.com site to a data base maintained by a third party to check if the site being visited is actually a "Look Alike". This is done by displaying a list of all "Look alike sites" at the click of a button. For example, such list may contain www.billclinton.com, www.exuspresident.com, www.clinton.com.uk, www.clinton.biz, www.clinton.museum etc.

The Netizen therefore is able to resolve his confusion instantly and continue his surfing. 


How is "Look Alike" Defined? 
 

"Look Alike" sites are presently identified on four parameters and in future other parameters are intended to be added. The four parameters are

1. Similarity of domain names.(eg: clinton.com and clinton.biz)
2.Similarity of the subject domain name to any registered trademark. (jaguarcenter.com to Ford's trademark)
3.A site which used a registered trademark or its clone in the meta tag.
4.A site which has registered a registered trademark owned by some body else in a major search engine for display of advertisements for key word based search.

Who is the Target Audience for the Service?
 

The service is offered to an owner of a Domain Name on request. The service is used by the Netizens while surfing.


How Is it beneficial to the Netizens?

  VLAS service is the simplest tool for a Netizen to resolve "Confusingly similar Domain Names". 

Does VLAS provide Legal Immunity? 
 

The VLAS service is only aimed at providing a tool for resolving "Consumer Confusion". If the reason for such confusion arises only due to the similarity of name on account of any of the above parameters, it provides a means to prove "Lack of bad faith".

If the dispute is centered around confusion arising out of similar "Look and Feel" of a site or "Similar Service" etc, the service may not be able to assist in the resolution of the conflict.

However, the service is presently aimed at providing a means for "Peaceful Coexistence" if different Domain name owners so chose. There is at present no legal validity assigned to the service. Even after a defendant has become a member of this service, nothing prevents a party to take a dispute to a Court or to WIPO to establish its claim on a domain name by virtue of "Confusing Similarity".


Does VLAS support Cyber Squatting? 
 

No. Cyber Squatting refers to registration of domain names in "Bad Faith". VLAS aims to provide a protection for genuine domain name owners who have a conflict arising out of reasons such as existence of two valid trademarks in different categories or countries or two persons with similar names etc.

If the service is being used by any Cyber Squatter, law can take its own course and evict him not withstanding his providing the "Lookalike list". 
 

Can I use this service to a name yet to be Registered?

This service is meant for active web site owners only. Those who are registering a name now for the purpose of activating the site immediately can register for the service. But the service will be active only when the site becomes operational. 


Does VLAS offer Arbitration Service? 
 

VLAS is intended to be an integrated service including the "Arbitration option". This part of the service is getting ready.

Is there a Cost for the Service? 
 

The service is presently being offered on a selective basis on cost to be determined on a case to case basis. The look alike sites will be updated four times in a year. (Contact Naavi@vsnl.com for details ).

How Can you associate with this Service? 
 

Domain Name Owners: You can become members of this service and start strengthening the community. We know that at the present stage the service will have some deficiencies and will be far from perfect. We would still appreciate the members for their support to the cause of "Learning to Co-exist" in Cyber space.

Domain Name Registrars: Whether you are new.net or a country code registrant or one of the many ICANN accredited registrants, every new registration made through you will be a potential conflicting name with the existing 25 million .com domain names already registered. The new registration mechanisms  can all be considered one day as   "Trade Mark Infringement Tools" just as Napster was held to be a "Copyright Violation Tool". 

All registrants therefore has a responsibility to the community to advise their clients that the registrations made through them can be snatched away by the holders of similar looking domain names already in use.

They can therefore collaborate with VLAS to offer the VLAS registrations to all their registrants at the time of registration of the domain names.

Cyber Rights Organisations: VLAS is a new concept. Its very availability can redefine the existing concepts of what constitutes "Bad Faith" in Domain name disputes. The service is aimed at supporting Common Netizens from unreasonable harassment from big Trade Mark owners. Hence Cyber Rights Organisations should come forward to assist VLAS in gaining community acceptance quickly. They are requested to collaborate with VLAS in promoting the concept in Regulatory, Legal and Judicial circles.

Netizens: Any Netizen who agrees that the service has a value to common man on the Net can support the service by using it and encouraging its use. Netizens who are also associated with the legal administration of Domain Name rights can assist with VLAS directly or indirectly by endorsing the service. 

Contact Naavi for Details