A Primer On Typosquatting

Sep 26 08:09 2011 Michael Bloch Print This Article

Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting that can erode a company's brand and contribute to a reduction in sales. It can also add to the cost of sales through the need for defensive action or litigation.

Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting that can erode a company's brand and contribute to a reduction in sales. It can also add to the cost of sales through the need for defensive action or litigation.

Typosquatters register domain names that are misspellings of a brand or business and rely on Internet users who enter an incorrectly spelled domain into their web browser address bar as a source of traffic.

Typosquatter sites usually consist of advertising related to the brand in question,Guest Posting or a competing brand. It can be a lucrative practice, with reports of some typosquatters with very large portfolios of misspelled domain names generating over a million dollars a year.

Motivations aren't always financial though - at times a typosquat name may be used to try and inflict damage to a company's reputation or publish views opposite that of the legitimate site. In worst case scenarios, these domains may also be used for delivering malware or other phishing activities.

According to research from Tyler Moore and Ben Edelman carried out in 2010, 938,000 typosquatting domains target the top 3,264 .com sites.

Preventing typosquatting can be an expensive exercise as it requires registering many variations of a domain name. Some larger companies may have hundreds of "typo" names registered in order to protect their brands.

For the small business owner, registering so many domain names may simply not be financially viable. However, as with cybersquatting, if a business becomes a victim of typosquatting where criminal activity is not involved, there is recourse via WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization.

WIPO is an agency of the United Nations and offers domain name dispute resolution services under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Unfortunately, the service is not cheap; starting at around USD $1,500. In order to be successful in a claim, one of the criteria is that the typosquat domain must be shown to have been registered in bad faith.

Typosquatting occurs most commonly with generic top level domains (gTLD's) such as com, net and org. The reason for this is not just because the world's biggest brands usually have a.com name, but that anyone can register any gTLD name they wish without needing to satisfy any real screening criteria prior to doing so; unlike with many country code Top Level Domains (ccTLD's).

For example, Australian domain name registrants are at less of a risk of typosquatting in the .au name space due to restrictions on the registration of .au names. To register a. com.au name, a party must be a registered business, company or association and the name must have a strong connection to their commercial activities.

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About Article Author

Michael Bloch
Michael Bloch

Michael Bloch is an online business consultant with years of experience in the web hosting and domain names sector. Michael is currently consulting for Australia-based Domain Registration Services - start your domain name search.

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