Typosquatting has moved to centrestage in the domain name industry. Typosquatting is the practice ofregistering domain names that are misspellings or likelytypographical errors of heavily trafficked sites or well-knowntrade marks. These domain names are then used to generate pay perclick revenue, through an affiliate marketing website, frominternet surfers who accidentally mistype a domainname. Affiliate marketing is a performance based internet marketingprogram in which affiliates are paid for sending customers ortraffic to a website. Affiliate programs are driven by affiliatemarketing software which tracks and logs commission for promotingthe partner's website.
So is there in money in typosquatting? Yes and plenty of it. So howdoes it work?
Step 1: register a domain name that is amisspelling of trade mark (e.g. mersedesbenz.com). Step 2: sign-up to an affiliate program. Step 3: direct the domain name to a webpage of theaffiliate program, which generates advertising based on targetedkeywords. Step 4: wait for the misspelling and confusion tobegin.
The average click earns $0.05 for the domain nameregistrant, assume a site receives 100 clicks a day that equates to$150 per month or $1800 a year.If the registrant has a portfolio of 100 similar domain names itwould bring in $180 000 a year. Some typosquattingsites can generate over a 1 000 clicks a day. All revenue isderived from infringing upon a trade mark and relying on theconfusion caused from a common misspelling.
In order to establish whether a trade mark has fallen victim totyposquatting it is advisable to conduct a domain name audit and toimplement a watch service to assist in identifying potentialinfringements.
The most successful form oftyposquatting is the use of the prefix “www” (World Wide Web) aspart of a domain. This type of registration relies on the Internetuser omitting the point (period or full stop) between “www” and thedomain name. For example instead of typingwww.hsbc.comthe user types wwwhsbc.com. We list some more examplesbelow, which all point to an affiliate website.
Over the years the NationalArbitration Forum has decided over 270 UDRP complaints involvingdomain names that had incorporated the prefix “www”. This form ofinfringement is increasing and trade marks owners should considertaking pre-emptive measures by registering all their well-knowntrade marks with the prefix “www” as part of the domain name suchas wwwlexsynergy.com.
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