Microsoft Typo-Patrol May Prey On Google

    April 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Sites that pickup traffic from misspelled versions of well-known domain names frequently contain advertising served by Google AdSense and other products; Microsoft’s latest feature in the Strider URL Tracer may make hunting them down an easier prospect for trademark holders.

Peter Alguacil of IPWalk, said, “Microsoft’s initiative could be the beginning of the end for typo-squatting.”

The rationale here is that as proper owners of trademarks discover how their intellectual property is being misused, they will take action against the offenders.

Alguacil noted how one prominent company’s name has been misused by typo-squatters:

Just looking at Disney-related domain names, Ipwalk found over 260 typo variations of the popular “”, all of them leading to ad pages. The actual number is bound to be much higher, since the examination used a limited set of typos.

Additionally, 957 domain names contained the word “disney”, and 338 domain names contained the test set of 7 “disney” typos. These numbers are from April 18 for the .com TLD.

Disney has long held a reputation for having a fearsome team of attorneys at its behest. Should they aggressively pursue typo-squatters, the result could be one that removes a pool of advertising displays from the web.

That would hurt the providers of those advertising networks; Alguacil names Google and Sedoparking as two of several who could feel a little pinch from the loss of revenue through those sites.

Microsoft Research makes the Strider URL Tracer with Typo-Patrol freely available for download and use with Windows XP and IE 6.

On the product’s page, Microsoft noted how Sedoparking, Oingo, and Netster all deliver ads that send the user through, part of Google’s ad network.

“It is only a matter of time until the results of this and similar research projects are integrated as a security measure into web browsers and security applications,” said Alguacil. “When that happens, companies serving ad pages are going to have to adapt or see a significant loss of income.”

UPDATE (Apr 30): This issue should begin attracting more attention, now that the Washington Post published an article about the issue of typo-squatting. We compliment the Post on picking up the story only ten days after we did.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.