Our friend Robin Wauters over at blognation Belgium has compiled a nice list of domain names of popular brands which have been snatched in Belgium, but the indifference of companies to prepare for an international roll-out is not unique to small countries, most domains in his list have not been secured in larger markets like Germany neither.

My favorite – which has been a running gag in the German twittosphere – is iphone.de. Instead of a shiny iPhone you will see this:

screenshot iphone fake

The domain has been grabbed by freenet and they use it for promoting a BackBerry with a cheaper data plan than the one T-Mobile will offer for the iPhone.

This obviously is conceived to be a joke, the design aesthetics is clearly mimicking Apple’s, they use slogans like ‘I phone with freenet’ or ‘Big Apple’. It is not hard to imagine the high fives between the creative genius who came up with this and the management or project lead.

What’s notable is that freenet is no bunch of students who think this is funny (e.g. the founders of Studiverzeichnis – now Germany’s biggest social network by far – also grabbed various domains of their competitors before Holtzbrinck took over), but a publicly traded company and one of Germany’s largest telecommunications company and ISP.

This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here.