For years Cameroon’s government leased out the .cm domain to Agoga.com. Because .cm is a common typo of .com, the company set up a system where if you entered any address ending with .cm, it took you to a webpage filled with ads. Agoga made millions from this deal, profiting from domains like google.cm and weather.cm.
Now Cameroon has decided to end this special deal with Agoga and will open up the .cm domain to everyone. Starting July 15, you will be able to preorder a registration free of charge. Public registration begins on August 1. On August 4, the most lucrative .cm domains will be auctioned off. Normal registrations will cost £217 ($350 USD) for two years.
There is no doubt that Cameroon is trying to make money from typosquatters, crafty individuals who register common misspellings of popular websites in hopes of getting free traffic. Typosquatting often constitutes trademark infringement and is finable by up to £186,234 ($300,000 USD) in the United States.
Cameroon has made a very irresponsible decision regarding its domains. Many trademark holders will suffer as a result of the country’s attempt to make a quick buck. As developing countries build web infrastructure, their governments ought to learn to be more responsible.