Accents rule: Spanish-speaking internet site gains victory over “typo squatter”

LatinaLista — The internet has long been associated as the (forgive the pun) domain of the United States, or English-speaking countries.
Why? Well, for one thing — the language.
Creating domain names in English is no big deal. English is straightforward using only letters. There are no tildes or accents that hover above and which can make all the difference in how a word is pronounced.
So, it wasn’t too surprising, seeing that mainly English-speakers developed the online world, that no one would have given a second thought as to how to incorporate such grammatical necessities of Latin-based countries such as accents and tildes.
Thankfully, cultural sensitivity and technology have evolved to the point where it is now commonplace to be able to include these specialized grammatical marks in domain names, but what happens to all those Spanish-language sites whose domains should be accented but they couldn’t because of the technology at the time?
If they’re lucky, they were able to change their domains to include the new marks but for one Spanish-language site, it took a trip to the World Intellectual Property Organization to establish their domain rights.
Back in 1998, when monografías.com registered their domain, it was impossible to include the accent mark over the “i.” Yet today it can be done, but not before a cyber-squatter decided he was going to register the domain with the accent. And so he did.

As is the case with most squatters, they’re just out to make a fast buck by capitalizing on a well-known name to drive traffic to their own questionable site. The squatter in this case saw that the original monografías was not registered with the accent and immediately registered the name with it, in essence creating a new domain.
It wasn’t until about two years ago that the creators of monografías realized the problem. Since then, they’ve been feverishly working to get their rightful domain back.
Finally after about seven months, spending between $1,500-2,000, assembling all the paperwork on the statistics of their web site, proving that the squatter acted in bad faith, establishing the fact that their domain was their brand and waiting for a review of their case by three arbitrators, a decision was finally delivered on May 28 that the domain with the accent mark belonged to the monografías web site.
Lucas Morea, founder of monografías.com, tells Latina Lista that the win is “pretty significant.”
For Morea, it’s an important win because it’s preserving the brand he has so carefully built and grown over the years. For the rest of the Spanish-speaking population, it will remain to be seen how retroactive this ruling can be for all those sites that sprung up and conformed to the technology of those times because there was no choice.
Now, with choice, there is a true democratization of cyberspace — just as there should be.

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