08 March 2007

Today's goooood word: typosquatting

The 3 March issue of the New Scientist defines typosquatting as the "practice of registering web addresses that differ from popular destinations by single-letter errors". Such errors are usually called typos (short for "typographical errors"). The purpose of a typosquatter is to present the unsuspecting web searchers with an alternate web page with links to commercial (often pornographic) sites and advertisements. Every time someone clicks a link on a typosquat, the typosquatter makes money.

The examples of typosquat addresses offered by the New Scientist include those that are variations of www.google.com. Apparently, typosquatters have bought the domain names spelled with 4, 9 and 20 "o"s (goooogle, etc.). Leaving aside the question of how anyone could misspell Google with 20 "o"s, I've, out of curiosity, discovered that the version with 11 "o"s also leads to a typosquat with porno links (no, I didn't click on any). On the other hand, Google owns at least the version with 5 "o"s, but not the 12-o version contrary to what the article says.

At one point, whilst testing different spellings of Google, I inadvertently typed www.goooooooo.com and ended up on what appears to be a Japanese typosquat. And then, I found several other sites with similar URLs differing only in the number of "o"s. They may all be hoping to catch the surfers looking for www.go.com, the homepage of the Walt Disney Internet Group.

4 comments:

Tristram Brelstaff said...

In my blog I recently mis-spelt "Stephen Hawking" as "Stephen Hawkin" and got lots of visitors who had obviously committed the same error when typing their search string into Google. Now that I have corrected the error these careless searchers are being directed elsewhere. It would actually have been advantageous for me to have left the mis-spelling as it was. Strange. I am sure there is an evolutionary lesson here somewhere.

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

That gives me an idea. Maybe I should start adding to my posts misspelled keywords to draw careless searchers.

Frank Anderson said...

I have just registered the URL http://snailstails.blogspot.com/...

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Confound you, Andy! You'll be getting rich now from all those porno links you'll be putting up.