It is not unusual to misspell names of websites while one types on the address bar. Passing it off as a casual error, one realizes their folly only minutes after hitting the Enter button. But, once the address bar is wiped clean, it’s back to normal business. Now, according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek, this ‘casual error’, has been, in fact giving owners of top websites (as per their revenue) sleepless nights. Referred to as ‘typo squatting’, the roots of this phenomenon are as old and firm as the Internet itself. Cashing in on the raging popularity of Facebook, Google etc. several similar sounding websites have taken firm ground and each you time and I accidentally misspell the name of our favourite site, we end up being accidental visitors to these fake sites. In the process, owners of these fake sites happily walk to the bank.
Watch out! You may have got it wrong (Image credit: Getty Images)
Sometime last month, search engine giant, Google approached the National Arbitration Forum to keep a check on several similar spelt sites, like goggle.com,goggle.org and goggle.net that have cropped up over a period of time. The forum resisted carrying out any action, owing to the lack of jurisdiction. Now, a lot of these 'fake' sites feature claims of winning iPads, which aren't true, obviously. The time, which the unsuspecting user takes in sifting through the site, gives the miscreant enough time to plant a spam – the damage is already done!
Studies in this respect too report mind numbing numbers. According to a report in 2010, presented by FairWinds Partners, an internet consulting firm, based in Washington D.C stated that owing to typo squatting alone, as many as 250 well-received websites suffer losses collectively amounting to $285 million, which just makes it a far more serious issue that having someone confuse you for someone else more prominent. Imagine sending off a mail, with some official document attached, to a hastily typed, wrong address!
All that one could do about this is be careful about what ones types, and access whilst online! What do you think?