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YouTube or utube? Users' mistake crashes website

Most companies would welcome 70 million people visiting their website every month, but for one small US company selling secondhand tube and pipe machinery, the effects of being mistaken for the hugely popular YouTube have been so disastrous that it is suing the video-sharing website.

Universal Tube and Roll-form Equipment Corporation, which employs 17 people and operates the web-site utube.com, has filed a lawsuit asking YouTube - which was bought by Google last month for £883m - either to stop using the address youtube.com, or pay for it to create a new internet domain, which should stop the confusion.

Universal Tube, based in Perrysburg, Ohio, said it had lost business after its own site kept crashing because millions of people kept logging on to it by mistake. It was shut down for several days last month following the news of YouTube's sale. It also said the cost of running utube.com had leapt recently - 68 million visited the site in August alone.