Feeds

Without typo-squatters, how far would Google fall?

The riches of cartooonnetwork.com

The essential guide to IT transformation

How much money is Google making from the world's typo-squatters? God only knows. Or rather: God, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and a few Oompah Loompahs inside their Mountain View Chocolate Factory.

According to a recent study from McAfee and Harvard prof/cyber watchdog Ben Edelman - which relies on web data from May 2008 - at least 80,000 domains are typo-squatting on America's 2,000 most popular web sites, just waiting for innocent web users to misspell or mistype their next url. And 80 per cent of those typo-squatting domains are funded through Google AdSense.

For instance, the study (PDF) says, 742 domains sit just a few misplaced characters from freecreditreport.com, and 327 are shadowing cartoonnetwork.com. "Cartoon Network with three Os. Cartoon Network with two Ts. Cartoon Network that starts with a k. More ways to misspell Cartoon Network than you ever imagined," Edelman tells The Reg. "And almost all of them serve Google ads."

In the US, typo-squatting is against the law. The 1999 Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) prohibits anyone from "registering or using" domains misleadingly similar to a trademark or famous name. Yet Google is making money from typo-squatters - most likely a great deal of money. The trouble - as usual - is that there's no window into Google's black box of an ad platform. At least not yet.

Edelman is among the team of lawyers that filed a class action suit against Google in June 2007, accusing the ad broker of violating the ACPA, and he's confident that as part of the suit's discovery process, Google will have no choice but to reveal how much it's pulling in from typo-squatters.

In October 2007, Dell brought suit against 16 so-called domain parkers, claiming they were squatting on its trademarks, and a court freeze order indicated those 16 outfits were raking in as much $2m a month from Google ads - after Google took its cut.

Under the freeze, Google was ordered to shuttle a portion of the defendants' ad revenue into an account for safe keeping. Each month, the order said, the first million should go into the frozen account and the second million should go to the defendants. If revenues top $2m, the order said, half of what's left should be frozen too.

But that's just 16 companies. And who knows how high those revenues really went.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Next page: Domain Parkers

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?