That's no longer much of an issue, but an effort starting in Sweden might be the first to add a wee bit of sheriffing into the process. It's a decade too late—and the move is preliminary as well as remarkably limited—but it's still a start. The effort is trying to subject all Swedish se-domain names containing the word "bank" to an inspection prior to registration. "This to ensure that anyone who might be confused with a bank actually fulfills the legal requirements for one," said Erik Arnberg, of the Binero Web hosting site in Sweden. Could this pre-investigative stage impact other words and then other countries? It's probably too late to have an appreciable impact on U.S. retail, but it's an interesting development to watch.
Ten years ago, a common complaint from E-tailers—and especially Fortune 500 retailers—was that domain registration had no sheriff. Anyone could set up a site with the name of a major retailer in the URL—or a slight misspelling of said name—and then later either sell it to the chain, sell it to the chain's rivals or try and make sales directly.