Estate agent’s domain hijacked by rival and directed to porn sites

In what could be a landmark ruling for small businesses against competitor tactics on the internet, The High Court has ruled in favour of estate agency Eddison White in its battle to protect its reputation online.

Rival agent SW19 Estate Agents Ltd has been ordered to pay significant damages to Eddison White after admitting it had bought the domain eddisonwhite.com and diverted it to pornography websites.

Luke Bennett, proprietor of SW19, purchased eddisonwhite.com in 2005 with the aim of harming the reputation and business of Eddison White, having noted that only the .co.uk domain was in use by the claimant.

The domain was then variously directed to other estate agents in the area, SW19 Estate Agents Ltd’s own website, and several hardcore pornography websites. This persisted despite a series of requests by the proprietors of Eddison White.

Richard Eddison, joint owner of Eddison White, said of the ordeal: “It has been difficult for us and all of our customers and most important for those individuals who were subjected to some truly awful images thanks to Mr Bennett’s antics. For a professional service business to act in this way is beyond contempt and does little to challenge any pre-conceived ideas members of the public may have about our profession.

"We have sought to rise above that by running a truly professional business and offer excellent service to buyers and sellers alike. It’s just a shame Mr Bennett didn’t chose to operate with the same values.”

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