By Matt Mickiewicz

1 in 5 Typo Domains Funded By Google

By Matt Mickiewicz

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.

  • egenius

    That is one of the many reasons for me not being an advertiser on AdWords. I want to able to control my money!

  • php_penguin

    Egenius: you can choose where your advertisemenets are displayed with AdWords, but only to the extent of “only on Google search pages” or “only on external websites”.

    Squatting is annoying, but I don’t feel that it has much of a negative effect on business. Most people recognize a squatting site, and go straight back to the Famous Web Search Engine to find the one they actually wanted.

  • SEO Canada

    You have site exclusion, I thought? It’s not just content or search. Plus, as per Dave’s great new preview at RedFly, there’s features on topic exclusion and such:


  • SEO Canada

    Oh, and Andrew’s also got a good pointer that some domain traffic performs well. http://www.traffick.com/2007/11/new-adwords-content-targeting-opt-outs.asp

  • altjeringa

    Can you say FUD?

    For your next act will you tell us that the sun generates dangerous amounts of light in the ultra violet spectrum which with prolonged exposure could cause dark spots to appear on the skin and eventually lead to cancer and death?

    When I read drivel like this I have to wonder if the authors are actually on the M$ or yahoo payroll. Companies which would actively encourage the spread of typo spam purely for the purpose of increasing revenue. Oops did I just baselessly spread fear, uncertainty and doubt?

  • James

    Perhaps you miss the point of advertising on google’s adsense program, it is to get people to your site, hey if they come from seeing your ad based on their typo then who cares? the point is that they came to your site after reading your ad, how they saw your ad is irrelevant, now if they site designers were forcing them to your site i would agree we have a problem, but the fact that they get the viewer from a typo is a “so what” point.

  • I don’t see how typo-squatting is worse than any other activity which capitalises on flaws in human nature. How is it different from any other form of commercial activity? Advertising itself capitalises on our tendency to be persuaded by mild pressure into doing something we not otherwise have done?

    I don’t see how it’s a problem, or has any effect on legitimate business, unless the typo domain is attempting to pass-off as the original business (which the law already addresses). If an individual site is concerned about the potential loss of potential business then the best thing they can do is register typo domains for themself.

  • “Typo squatting” exists because large companies don’t bother to register the typo domains and other people make it their business to utilize this domain. I don’t think its a big issue, its just as annoying, and legitimate as content sites who care more about their revenues than they do about their content. (that includes a lot of content sites!)

    (sidenote: Im not a typo, or domain guy myself, it’s just my unbiased opinion)

  • Bubba

    I don’t understand why everyone gets so self-righteous about these types of online issues.

    “Typo” as defined in the Webster dictionary (not some bulls… wiki) is “a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failure of some kind”.

    So someone siphons off a few clicks (or a few thousand, it really doesn’t matter since it is a small %) until the user realizes they’ve been duped, then goes to the real site. Whoopdee freakin doo!

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