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When Google's content network lacks content

Let's go fly a kite

Let's go fly a kite

But typosquatting is only part of the problem here. Dell's suit also claims the defendants are "kiting" domains. After registering a url, you can return it within five days for a full refund. Clever types have been known to do this time and again with the same domains, getting good use from them without actually footing the bill.

This allows domain parkers to spread their ads over a, shall we say, much larger number of sites.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is working to stop on this sort of behavior, but in the meantime, it's still fair game.

Just a few days ago, Google announced that it would crack down kiters using AdSense. Was this a response to Dell's suit? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the case, this crackdown only goes so far.

"We have long discouraged domain kiting as a practice," Google told us. "In order to more effectively deter it, on February 11 we will launch a domain kiting detection system. If we determine that a domain is being kited, we will not allow Google ads to appear on the site. We believe that this policy will have a positive impact for users and domain purchasers across the web."

A domain kiting detection system? Please. All you have to do to stop kiters is ban any url that's less than five-days-old. Plain and simple. Plus, you put an end to so-called "domain tasters" - those clever types who are simply testing the "marketability" of recently registered urls.

Why then is Google set to role out a domain kiting detection system? Refusing to actually talk to us on the phone, Google avoided giving an answer. But clearly, there's only one reason: If you eliminate all less-than-five-day-old domains, you eliminate, say we say, a fair amount of extra revenue.

But let's take this a step further. Kited urls account for only portion of all domain parking. Why doesn't Google just eliminate all domain parking from AdSense? Why not limit it's content network to sites that actually include some content?

Google not only allows parked domains. It will set them up for you. It even has a snappy name for the program: AdSense for domains.

Some have questioned whether Google is breaking the law if it coddles domain parkers using trademark-infringing domains. Gold club manufacturer Vulcan Golf filed suit against Google last summer. "This is another gray area," says Eric Goldman. "But at least one party believes Google is responsible here."

Google sees things differently: "AdSense for domains allows domain name registrars and large domain name holders to provide valuable and relevant content on their parked pages," the company says. "Parked domain pages generally have no content; however, by adding targeted ads, we hope to help users find what they are looking for."

That's right, the Mountain Viewers say they allow domain parking because they "hope to help users find what they are looking for."

Famously, Google also says "You can make money without doing evil". But that's not the only way to make money. ®

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