Directory services settle 'typosquatting' dispute

Localist issues statement at 9am to say matter is resolved

NZ Post’s local information and directory service, Localist has settled a dispute with Yellow Pages Group over possession and use of certain web domain names.

“The matter has been resolved on commercial terms,” says a Localist statement issued at 9:00 am on February 24. “Yellow Pages Group has agreed to transfer ownership of the contested domain names – which included variations on the word ‘localist’ - to Localist.

“Localist has in turn agreed to end the legal action it initiated against Yellow Pages Group earlier this week.

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Locallist threatened legal action against Yellow Pages (trading as Yellow) over alleged “typo-squatting” tactics.

Yellow registered several URLs close to localist’s name, including localists.co.nz and locallist.org.nz.

“Typo-squatting” is the practice of registering a domain close in spelling to a rival’s, so an error in typing the competitor’s address will lead an inquirer to the wrong company.

Meanwhile Yellow’s CEO Bruce Cotterill has resigned, but he says this is nothing to do with the Localist controversy.

Having completed a restructuring of the company’s debt at the end of the year, Cotterill says, and with new owners and a new board of directors in place, “the time is right for me to move on. I feel like my job is done,” he says in a media statement.

“I told the board of my decision on 28th January,” Cotterill tells Computerworld, “so it has nothing to do with that other nonsense.”

He will be replaced temporarily as CEO by director Scott Pomeroy.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Cotterill at first declined to comment on the Localist matter. However, he later suggested, the fact that the media were made aware of the proposed legal action before his company received the papers “speaks volumes” as to the possible motives of those involved.

Localist did have the foresight to register “locallist.co.nz”, with two ls, but overlooked the .org.nz domain.

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