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Just How Common Is Typo Squatting
Absolutely Rife

 12:00 am on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh if you didn't know what rife meant and looked it up at dictionary.com _ I hope you didn't mis-spell dictionary and replace the 'a' with an 'e'

Let's take a really popular social media domain such as twitter.com and look at how type squatting works.

Take a look at your keyboard - take the letter 't' at the start of twitter.com there are 5 adjacent letters 'r', 'f', 'g', 'h' and 'y'

All of the domains where the first t in twitter is replaced with one of these letters is parked (or has been parked and the services discontinued)

The one using the g was blocked by Sedo - the others are still all live. (Though Sedo do need to get their act together and block the 'h' and 'y' variants)

Now do the same with the 'w' - the adjacent letters are 'q','a','s','d' and 'e' - you get very similar results parked pages plus affiliate links to major corporation sites.

-As an exercise the reader can test the adjacent letters for the other letters in twitter.com (let me know if you find one where there isn't a typo squat - okay don't bother with that just register the domain and park it somewhere and make some money --I haven't already done it because it's not my style)

The real question is can a service like internettraffic.com or sedo.com survive without this kind of typo traffic?

Do they have the guts to create a spider and take the top 100,000 sites from Alexa and do some automated checking of whether the adjacent letter typos for these sites show their parking pages or not?

Will the PPC companies feeding their results give them credit for this and give better payouts to those companies that keep the typo squatters out?



 3:57 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Typos squats of famous brands need to go.

Typo squats of generic/descriptive words that happen to be used by CompanyX, . . say Money.tld . . Meh. When you choose the widely used generic/descriptive word as your company name "the nibbling around the edges" is the price of successful "lazy man's" (smart woman's/man's) branding. (Folks who, in fact, at "looking for the real thing" - ex., money magazine - will quickly realize their error and the squat will not profit unless the magazine site isn't savvy enough to exclude bidding for squats of its own Web address.)

IF, OTOH, a squatter takes a version of Money.tld and puts up a "mimic copy" of the associated magazine on the typo of money . . well, that's just (fill in the blank). That person or entity should feel some pain.

Deliberate famous mark squats are the bane of the direct navigation market and the companies that particiate in "feeding that beast" should have felt the pain of their final death blow years ago. That such practices still (may/do) exist tells me that, as a cost of doing business, such squats really aren't that big of a bite out of the bottom line of the squattees.

Still, I'd like to see them go, once and for all. I'd say the best strategy is to nail such players "for their bad domains" and then levy, in Virginia, against whatever actualy good domains they may have and seize them at the registry level by court order.

THAT might inflict a bit of . . justice . . for the long term, hard core, "just don't give a frack" offenders. :-/

[edited by: Webwork at 2:09 pm (utc) on Jun 8, 2011]


 5:21 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

A netflix typo site recently got me.

They are everywhere!


 9:09 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes the typos of the major brands definitely need to go, especially when they are sites that kids visit regularly. I got caught by one the other day that led to adult content, on a site that my kids visit on a regular basis - the reason behind this post. I must say that the adult typo-squatting is no where near as rife as it use to be - the PPC parking pages have actually done some good in removing the lurid images that used to abound on typos.


 3:51 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this needs to be managed by the companies owning a domain themselves. If someone squats YOUR domain name it's up to YOU to resolve the situation (with them directly, via their hosts or in court if need be).

I DO NOT think regular webmasters should mind the business of other people's domains for them, it's in fact none of their business. Got tricked? Tell THAT domain name/site what happened, alert them to the squat, and let them deal with it.

Why? Because it's not up to every webmaster to force new rules on all other webmasters. This is inherently dangerous in general. In this case taking away someone's domain name because it is one letter removed from another site might seem warranted however that very notion, of removing someone elses domain, should never be taken lightly.

If it doesn't belong to you, and doesn't affect you, it's none of your business. If you get tricked it becomes your business but telling the intended site is the resolution, not creating laws that affect others who had nothing to do with YOUR issue. Just my 2 cents.


 5:35 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't have any typo domains (that I know of) but I agree wholeheartedly with Sgt_Kickaxe.


 11:32 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Displaying most typo domains, along with all domain park domains, could be easily blocked with a browser plug-in, just like malware sites are blocked today.


 12:09 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

The Great Karnack sees it now: A New Registry...opt in and paid for then verified.

"What was the Question, O, Great Karnack?" the audience cries.

"How to kill type squatter domain registrations," comes the reply.

As if we really need that much more obfuscation on domain names! Bad enough to register a name, then to fight off all the "typos", too? OR WORSE, prove that YOUR name is NOT a typo of someone else's domain...

Ultimately, the buck has to stop somewhere and in MOST CASES that SHOULD BE with the USER saying "Whoops, that wasn't what I wanted!" and clicking back or ACCURATELY typing in that desired URI!


 11:08 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

My experience of the average internet user is that they type company names in Google - which will return results with typo fixed in most cases. Even for 1-2 keywords of VERY memorable words, users start with G!

JAB Creations

 3:43 pm on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm glad some people recognize the problem as it is. Domain squatting is illegitimate and behavior wise is like trying to sell cheap ripoffs of an actual product based solely on a potential client's mistake. Domain registers might not mind though who here as a business person would want their customers potentially being redirected to a website with adult material and have their otherwise potential sales end up being a misunderstanding/miniature PR disaster?

- John


 2:45 am on Jun 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

The issues are as follows:

Profiteering of someone else trademark is illegal.

PPC typo sqautting pages are actually an improvement on adult pages typo squatting the same domains.

The issue of what is and what isn't a typo is unclear.

A lot of what Sgt KickAxe says is actually very true - major corporations that allow their domain name to be typo squatted are also somewhat to blame for the typosquatting. My earlier examples took one of the biggest names on the net at the moment and showed just how they have done nothing about typo-squatting (they could probably have put together a good case against the vast majority of these typos)

However I don't see them as entirely responsible - ICANN must take some of the blame by not making the UDRP more accessible and easier for people to pursue. The parking companies must also clean up their acts (but when it comes down to it - I'd rather see their parking pages than adult content on these sites)

On the other hand I don't see it as being none of the business of ordinary webmasters - ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away is not a course of action that I would recommend to anyone - should you ignore drug dealers on your street corner or racists meeting in your town square. Ignoring parasites just allows them to breed and become more of a problem to their host.


 8:57 am on Jun 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

On the other hand I don't see it as being none of the business of ordinary webmasters - ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away is not a course of action that I would recommend to anyone - should you ignore drug dealers on your street corner or racists meeting in your town square. Ignoring parasites just allows them to breed and become more of a problem to their host.

This goes to a different aspect than my humor above... Protecting one's street (web/domain/brand) is important. Also indicates where you live. In my 'hood (real streets, house, neighbors) it has taken a few broken bones (mine), noses and bones (theirs), police calls to run off the p i m p s and prostitutes (not that I blame the girls per se)... etc. Turn a blind eye to evil acts and they will come back to haunt you... same with typo-squatting.

There should be active participation in cleaning up the typo-squatters, particularly those which lean to #*$! sites... but I do realize few have the time (or the tener cojones) to engage in that activity. So, we are where we are at this time, and probably into the future, too.


 9:30 am on Jun 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

The Great Karnack sees it now: A New Registry...opt in and paid for then verified.
It is known, in the domain business as a managed registry approach. The registrant has to prove some level of entitlement before getting the domain name. It works and it keeps the domain counts low and provides employment for entitlement checkers. Back in the days when .com domains were free, there was even an element of checking involved as registrants had to explain why they needed the domain name.

There was a high level of typo squatting during the time that ICANN facilitated Domain Tasting. However the economics of Domain Tasting changed when there was a limit on the numbers of domains that could be tasted for free. Typosquatting still exists but PPC operators and the PPC feeds that many of these sites use tend to be blacklisted or at least kept way down the search engine results by the search engines. This means that these typosquats have to rely on type-in traffic from users mistyping the website urls. However there's another angle here in that some users will use search engine pages to navigate the web and will type the URL they want into the search engine query form.



 3:56 pm on Jun 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

it is NOT the webmaster's responsibility to police the lowlife parasitic scum that prey on innocent web users. What are we supposed to do...buy EVERY possible permutation of our name? With hyphens too? For .biz, .net, .org, .info? Where would it end?

want to become a webmaster?

1. buy a domain name
2. apply for a mortgage

hmm, don't think so.


 9:43 am on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I still cannot understand how many types of "TYPO" are possible with good results. Name near to TM, or varieties of Generic or other TLDs, CCLD, Geo are called Typo? Will all these get type ins? What will be the products for selling at those sites? Any KW will germinate or SEED?


 11:28 am on Jun 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

This "development" could be "interesting": [webmasterworld.com...]


 11:37 pm on Jun 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Totally agree g1smd - that is definitely new - interesting that Google hasn't totally cleaned its SERPs either.



for some different behaviours.

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