Feeds

When Google's content network lacks content

Let's go fly a kite

Security for virtualized datacentres

Just how much money does Google make from so-called "domain parkers" - those clever characters who populate countless web pages with nothing but advertising?

Judging from a recent legal attack on a small army of these clever characters, Eric Schmidt and his minions make far more than they'd like the world to know.

Earlier this week, the IDG News Service leaked word of a recent Florida court order laid down in response to a "typosquatting" lawsuit from mega-PC-manufacturer Dell Computer. Dell is suing sixteen companies you've never heard of, but the court order also involves a certain web giant based in Mountain View, California.

In October, Dell brought suit against sixteen domain registrars, claiming they're serving ads from more than 1,000 domains that infringe on Dell trademarks. According to court papers, these urls include addresses like "delcomputing.com" and "deldimension.com."

"Typosquatting is a form of cyberquatting - which essentially involves registering variations on a trademark owned by an established company and brand so that you can drive traffic to your own site," says Jeffrey Glassman, a lawyer with the California firm Moldo, Davidson, Fraioli, Seror & Sestanovich, told The Reg.

This sort of typosquatting may or may not be illegal, says tech law blogger Eric Goldman. "We don't really have a whole lot of precedent on this, so it's hard to draw any legal inferences about it," he explains. "It's still a legal gray zone."

Then, late last month, a federal judge issued a "freeze order" that put the freeze on revenue collected by these Dell's adversaries - revenue that arrives by way of Google.

You see, these Dell-like domains belong to Google's AdSense network. Google populates these sites with ads, and every time someone clicks on one, Google gets a cut.

The freeze order orders Google to shuttle a portion of the defendants' revenue into an account for safe keeping. Each month, court papers say, the first million goes into the account, while the second million goes on to the defendants. Then, if revenues top $2m, half of what's left over goes into the account and the defendants get the other half.

That's sixteen defendants, and they're potentially raking in more than $2m a month.

When we contacted Google, a spokesman declined to talk about this case specifically, but he did half-answer a few of our questions about domain parking in general. Google insists that if you complain about typosquatting on its AdSense network, it will take action.

"Regarding typo-squatting, we take trademark violations very seriously," the spokesman said, via email. "Our trademark policy specifically prohibits the use of trademarked terms. When we find or are made aware of trademark violations we take immediate action including removing ads from our system and sites from the AdSense network."

Has Dell chosen legal action over a simple complaint to Google? It's hard to tell. Dell wouldn't talk to us at all. Like Google, it doesn't normally comment on pending litigation.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: Let's go fly a kite

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.