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Cybersquatters feeling safe in the UK

Baby Leo for sale on the Net

The cybersquatter may be a dying breed in some parts of the world, but Charles Sweeney in Scotland isn't worried.

He's convinced he is going to make big money on Internet domain names. In fact, Sweeney is so sure he'll be rich soon that he has invested £8000 registering Internet addresses that he hopes to sell for a considerable profit.

Cybersquatting involves buying up domain names with the intent of selling them at a profit, often to the person whose name they have used. The domain names they register often include a generic term, such as "furniture," or the brand name of a company, like Coca-Cola Co.

If you'd like to buy, for example, childrensdvd.com from Sweeney, he'd probably charge you in the region of £10,000 for it. Other names up for sale include ferrariagent.com and porscheagent.com, as well as babyleo.com and babyleo.co.uk.

Hoping to make a profit from the Prime Minister’s latest offspring, Sweeney has used the "babyleo" domain names to build a Web site that features a photograph of Baby Leo and his parents, as a way of publicising his business.

”I don't think I'm ready to sell babyleo.com yet, Sweeney says, but if someone was willing to pay the right price ... well, anything's negotiable.”

Sweeney isn't bothered that some people mistake his site for an official Blair family Web site, or that others see it as some sort of a hoax. There is a "guest book" where visitors can offer feedback about what they think of the site, and visitors have been known to send messages to the Blairs, warning them of babyleo.com's existence.

Sweeney claims to be running a sound business. He hasn't actually sold any domain names yet, he says, but he's sure he will. Sweeney's latest investment is georgespeight.com, coined after a coup leader in Fiji who is receiving a good deal of media attention.

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