Typosquatting is the practice of registering domain names that are misspellings of website addresses and profiting from it by selling the domain, or capitalizing on the domain’s traffic through Google ads and/or selling products/services not related to the original brand.
Many large businesses protect their brands by registering possible misspellings of their trademarks and brands but not all of them do an adequate job of it. Smaller businesses typically don't think of such protective measures until it is too late [read our previous article, Cornering the Market for your Brands].
A recently published paper available at Benedelman.org, Measuring the Perpetrators and Funders of Typosquatting, by Tyler Moore and Benjamin Edelman from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences describes how pervasive typosquatting is and who exactly benefits from it:
“At least 938 000 typosquatting domains target the top 3264 .COM sites, and we [the authors] crawl more than 285 000 of these domains to analyze their revenue sources. We find that 80% are supported by pay-per-click ads, often advertising the correctly spelled domain and its competitors. Another 20% include static redirection to other sites.”
Further analysis by the authors indicates:
“57% of typo sites include Google pay-per-click ads. Combining our observations with financial reports and others' estimates, we conclude that Google's revenue from typosquatting on the top 100,000 sites is $497 million per year.”
The research behind the paper highlights that "typosquatting" is a real problem for companies and brand owners.
Webnames.ca's Managed Services Division can help your organization mitigate typosquatting risks by conducting a comprehensive domain portfolio review to ensure that your brand is properly protected. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-866-470-6820 for more information.
This post was originally created for the Webnames.ca blog in March 2010 at www.webnamesblog.ca