McAfee’s new report on typosquatting details how 1 in 5 typo-squatted domain names is being funded by Google AdSense.
For their report, McAfee studied 1.9 million typographical variations of 2,771 of the most popular and well known Web sites. Of these, nearly 7% were suspected typo-squatters, defined as domain names registered for the sole purpose of generating advertising revenue from people who mistyped URLs.
The five most highly squatted categories are game sites (14.0%), airlines (11.4%), main stream media company sites (10.8%), adult sites (10.2%) and technology and Web 2.0 related sites (9.6%).
Besides the scale of the problem and its effect on legitimate business, what disgusts me the most is that Google AdWords have no way to opt out of having their advertising displayed on parked domain names.
Addendum: While there are legal routes for trademark owners to recover domain names that are owned by typosquatters, the process is long and expensive. Typosquatting would a much smaller industry if AdSense and other networks took a strong stance against the practice and stopped making it so lucrative.