Feeds

Without typo-squatters, how far would Google fall?

The riches of cartooonnetwork.com

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Domain Parkers

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.