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Typosquatters beware

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday April 18, 2007 )

A new service allows companies to identify and pursue typosquatters who are monetizing incorrectly spelled versions of their brand’s domain names.

Typosquatters take advantage of the mistakes people make when typing domain names into their browser; for example, instead of tamingthebeast.net, typing taimingthebeast.net (yes, someone registered that and other mispelled versions of my domain name).

Typosquatters monetize these domains by adding anything from relatively innocent pay per click ads, products for sale related to the brand, right through to full copies of the legitimate site and phishing schemes.

The new service, Typosquasher from CitizenHawk, searches the Web for registered misspellings of domain names, singles out typosquatters that infringe on trademarks, sends take-down notices to domain owners and their monetization channel partners and partially automates other initial legal proceedings.

According to CitizenHawk,up to 20% of all hand-typed URLs are misspelled by Internet users. CitizenHawk states there are over ten thousand typo domains relating to the Internet Retailer Top 50 online retail brands list and among those, 600 domains squatting on misspellings of Craigslist.org.

For a site like tamingthebeast.net; others registering mispellings of our domain name doesn’t keep me awake at nights and I wouldn’t bother chasing these people unless something particularly nasty was being displayed on the typosquatter site; but for bigger brands I imagine they lose a fair amount of cash each year through these sorts of operations.

Typosquasher is a rather pricey service at just under a grand a month, so it’s pretty much out of reach of most small businesses, but in case you’re interested, you can learn more about it here.

The other reason for posting this is to act as a heads-up that’s it’s not probably not a good idea to register or buy a domain name that is mispelling of a major brand as the company will most certainly chase you once you’re on their radar. The world has enough corporate lawyers, don’t help encourage further breeding :)



 

 
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