Following Macaulay Culkin hoax, research examines media gTLD registration patterns

A brand-hijacked website using the new gTLD string ‘.website’ went viral last week with a hoax news report about the ‘death of Macaulay Culkin’. The hoax spread, in part, because of the authentic-looking ‘msnbc.website’ domain. This issue highlights the risk that new gTLDs will be used to spoof media outlets, which could potentially lose credibility. Our research suggests that further spoofs and brand hijacking could follow, with a number of large media names up for grabs in the new gTLD space.

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