Typosquatting is the practice of intentionally registering domain names that are misspellings of website addresses and profiting from it by trying to sell the name, or capitalizing on its 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.
Whether the numbers are accurate or not, what the paper highlights is that "typosquatting" is a real problem for companies and brand owners.
Webnames.ca's Corporate and Managed Services Division can help with a comprehensive account review to ensure your brand is properly protected. Contact our Corporate and Managed Services department by firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free 1-866-470-6820 to schedule a review or to request a our recent whitepaper on the topic.