More than 400 domain names with the word "stakeholder" are already registered, leading to potential ...
More than 400 domain names with the word "stakeholder" are already registered, leading to potential conflict between stakeholder pension providers, intermediaries and analysts.
Graham Smith, a partner at e-commerce law specialists Bird & Bird, told a recent conference on the regulation of Financial Services on the internet, that using monnickers that describe a function or business type would leave companies vulnerable to copycat use of the name.
He said: "If you choose a name for your business which is descriptive it will be difficult to assert your rights against anyone who comes along with the same or similar name."
Domain name claimants would only be able to take legal action where there was very clear evidence that the name was being registered with the sole intention of selling it on.
Many of the "stakeholder" domain names, which range from ezestakeholderpensions.com to beststakeholderpension.co.uk do not have any content posted on the sites. One possible reason is they are awaiting the October commencement of registration or the April 2001 launch of the pension scheme.
Chris Dixon is an IFA who set up and registered stakeholder.co.uk, an information website, immediately after the Government announced its intention to develop a new pensions regime.
He said: "Some 90% of the stakeholder pension sites you see have been set up by opportunistic IFAs trying to cash in on the market but consumers aren't stupid."
He argued the consumer would be likely to head towards the original stakeholder site rather than one with a similar address. Dixon added: "If you see a site called ssstake-holder.co.uk, you'll probably be curious to see what stakeholder.co.uk is like.
"Equitable Life must have spent a bomb on advertising stakeholder but as soon as its campaign started, our website's hit rate shot up. If anyone does a search for stakeholder pensions on the internet they should get one of our sites first.
We already have more daily traffic through our site than large institutional sites like www.friendsprovident.co.uk, www.standardlife.com, www.prudential.co.uk.
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