Google Sponsors Typo Squatting

19 comments

We have already covered how Google AdSense does not care about content quality, but MicroSoft probed a bit deeper into the AdSense network, looking at cybersquatting.

Researchers at Microsoft Corp. have blown the lid off a large-scale, typo-squatting scheme that uses multi-layer URL redirection to game Google's AdSense for domains program.

For example, instead of the legitimate "www.microsoft.com," the domain "www.microsokft.com" has been registered and set up to redirect to another misspelled domain that currently serves up Google AdSense advertising for software products.

Funny to see MicroSoft reviewing Google's ad network, eh? But it's research :)

Comments

It is funny and I'm gald

It is funny and I'm gald they did it. GOOG really needs to cut the crap out of the content network. At this point, it's really just a joke. Though I must say that these crap sites can be a great way to sell your SEM services: "Did you know that your ad was running on pages like these? No? Well, we can fix that kinda thing right up..."

Typo traffic is most relevant

Targeted traffic is what advertisers want and typo traffic is generally the most targeted traffic you could get.

did anyone else notice...

a real sense of schadenfreude in that eWeek article? Yes, it's definitely an important issue that needs to be addressed, but it's the equivalent of Google celebrating its own research about security flaws in MS Office or XP.

I don't have any favorites in the MS/GOOG catfight, but phrases like "have blown the lid off" smack of a tabloidy, low-road approach to PR. Not sure whether the reporter or the MS research team are responsible for that angle - probably a bit of both.

all in the name of research...

it's the equivalent of Google celebrating its own research about security flaws in MS Office or XP

that is why I thought the article was so interesting.

Typos can be huge!

I pointed out to my wife that she was getting a lot of traffic to a page because of a typo on it and her knee-jerk reaction was to go correct it and mine was "What, are you nuts? You found a typo niche!"

My favorite typo squatting used to be AMAXON.com, but Amazon made them take it down, was a beautiful starting point for an affiliate.

finding typo's is an art

Finding profitable typo's on non-TM'd domains is a dark art. You won't find much information on how to locate typo's that will have traffic or not. The good info is kept close to peoples heart/wallet. Course, at $6.95 per domain, you don't need much to break even.

Finding profitable typo's on

Finding profitable typo's on non-TM'd domains is a dark art. You won't find much information on how to locate typo's that will have traffic or not. The good info is kept close to peoples heart/wallet. Course, at $6.95 per domain, you don't need much to break even.

It's a fairly automated market when it is up and running I would think. Recently a person asked me about it and I told them that I did not know much about that market, but that if I did there would be no reason I would tell strangers via email.

The problem with that market is that many people entering it are driven by the lure of easy automated income and there are an infinite number of middle men willing to sell software of little use other than making money for the software seller. There might be some good stuff out there, but most of it probably isn't because those in the know would make far more money directly.

I suppose having access to something like a souped up version of Hitwise, a ton of referral logs, or a search engine would be really useful for mining this sort of data, but then I bet it still takes a bit of effort to dig through and find the good stuff.

Danny comments

Danny comments on the story now, and apparently he is less than thrilled by the love search engines are giving the crew domain squatting on SEWatch

Navigation is a big part of search, and you'd think the search engines would want to ensure people were navigating to the right site. Instead, Google and Yahoo both seem happy to benefit by making money off these misspellings. That should change. Forget whether there's a trademark violation. Just outright ban the use of domains where it's obvious the site owner is hoping to tap into typo traffic.

I bet it still takes a bit

I bet it still takes a bit of effort to dig through and find the good stuff.

It does, I have over 8 million queries logged and the sheer size of a database makes it difficult to find useful information and seperate the wheat from the chaffe.

What's a typo

I would guess the best way

I would guess the best way to do it would be to write a tool to register permutations ofn domains and measure traffic on it. If there is none before the predefined "oops I made a mistake registering this" period then trade in the domain for a new permutation.

I think I remember Mr. Tabke talking about such software last year.

Targeted traffic is what

Targeted traffic is what drug dealers want and school playground traffic is generally the most targeted traffic you could get.

I don't think a publically traded company trying to position itself as the defacto navigation standard of the web should have any part in financing, incentivising and encouraging typo traffic theft.

Nonsense

More of the same attempts to force the web to be what existing businesses think it should be (as a form of protectionism?)

Just because most businesses only bother to register their own literal domain doesn't make it illegal for others to then "exploit market inefficiencies". If Disney.com wants the typo type-in traffic for disnye.com they need to register it just like anyone else. Or buy it, if they forgot. Of in the cases where there is a case to be made for confused consumers, file the paperwork to assume the trademark-infringing domain name.

That article from MS is surprising.. to me it is evidence of the increasing exploitation of R&D funds for marketing purposes. I never saw a "research department" coin so many flashy terms for their activities...it's really rather comical, and if there are any real researchers left at MS labs they should (imho) be embarassed. This is some poorly crafted FUD-style hype.

heh, nice one google. It is

heh, nice one google. It is amazing what you can do with all that data :)

Targeted traffic is what

Quote:
Targeted traffic is what drug dealers want and school playground traffic is generally the most targeted traffic you could get.

It aint often I'll disagree with you mate, but comparing the registration of domains (whether typo'ed of not) to pushing drugs to schoolkids is so far fetched and sensationistic that I guess even The Sun would be hard pressed to print.

The domain registration system works pretty well over all, with safeguards in place in case of slip up. It has to have a fine balance between open competition and commercialism and protection of existing legal rights. I believe that in most TLD and CCTLDs they exist.

Generally there is a 1st come 1st served basis for dom registrtion. IE - If you don't want smoeone else to have typos of your brand then register them.

Even then, if you miss out on a domain, then your ongoing due diligence should identify when someone is passing off your brand / trademark / intellectual property and you have the arbitration process available to you.

I think typos are fair game to all and that's based on the balance that I believe in an open marketplace. Restricting domains based on a character or 2 of indifference would mean that 99% of domains would never be possible

>It aint often I'll disagree

>It aint often I'll disagree

Not allowed :)

Its not the best anology but to be honest it would take too long to explain why I think its a valid one, I'll withdraw it.

Let me be clear on the other point. I think squatting domains for typo traffic is a pretty scummy way to earn a living. Having said that a man has got to eat and broadly its not an illegal thing to do so its really no business of mine. I think though that we should make a sharp distinction in what we expect from certain groups. I don't have a problem with Joe Webmaster earning a living from squatting, all Joe has to be is legal. However in the case of a publically traded company trying to position itself as the defacto navigation standard of the web I expect a little more. It may be a legal way to earn profits, I don't think its a decent nor entirely honest way of doing so and for that reason I don't think it reflects well on Google that they support it.

Not allowed :) :D typo

Quote:
Not allowed :)

:D

Quote:
typo traffic is a pretty scummy way to earn a living

Agreed, but In my personal history I've done a lot scummier. Kiddy snatchbacks (Section 10 Children's Act) come to mind

Quote:
However in the case of a publically traded company trying to position itself as the defacto navigation standard of the web I expect a little more.

I agree 110%, but even there, there is the recourse for the shareholders' to speak via the AGM

Quote:
I don't think its a decent nor entirely honest way of doing so and for that reason I don't think it reflects well on Google that they support it.

Again I agree 110%, and I guess the problem is that the majority of shareholders' don't have a way to complain to GOOG as the shares are split into their A / B offering.

dishonest ?

I'm a bit surprised at the compartmentalization going on here. If someone refers to SEO's as a scummy profession everyone gets worked up and defends SEO as they should. Often, SEO breaks the TOS of various search engines, but not much more.

Except unders specific circumstances typo squatting doesn't even break a TOS. Even TM'd marks are not alway protected... apple, answers, blinds and magellan are all TM'd to various degrees yet each is a common term found in dictionaries (OK - Magellan was an explorer).

How is having typo's and earning money off these *common* words a scummy profession?

What they doing

with the registar access?

Improving quality or the bottom line?

Source

Quote:
"Google has become a domain name registrar to learn more about the Internet's domain name system," a company official stated. "While we have no plans to register domains at this time, we believe this information can help us increase the quality of our search results."

Maybe the ad crew can enlist some of the spam fighters to "help" them.

uh huh

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