back to article Google typosquat cash pegged at $497m per year

Google may earn as much as $497m a year from typosquatters, according to a study from Harvard professor and noted Mountain View critic Ben Edelman. In a study first presented late last month at the Financial Security and Data Cryptography conference in Tenerife, Spain, Edelman and fellow Harvard researcher Tyler Moore estimate …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Heh Heh?

    Wouldn't it be a sort of poetic injustice were the Google or its direct/indirect employees responsible for at least some of the "improper" ad generated income?

    Shoorli shum mishtake Q?

  2. ratfox

    Is it significant?

    Honestly, I wonder. Compared to all the cash that Google earns, how significant these typosquatters are?

    This is not unlike accusing a store of not turning away dodgy-looking customers, even though they probably stole the money they are paying with...

    1. frank ly

      re. Is it significant

      "...even though they probably stole the money they are paying with..."

      Yes, but the store sells them crowbars, knives, guns/ammunition etc, and then takes a percentage of the money that the dodgy-looking types make from using these 'tools'.

      Analogies can be fun to play with.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Not quite

      It's a bit more like asking a shop to get rid of dodgy posters or goods abusing trademarked names or their likeness.

    3. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Its not the cash thats significant

      Its not the cash thats significant but the fact that Google is breaking not only the law but its own terms of service by providing ads for typosquatters, but also that it is providing revenue to typosquatters, thus encouraging these idiots.

      I sincerely hope that the profs provided the details of the typosquatter sites they found to google to see whether google actually removed their ads from these sites or whether that particular clause of its sevrice policy was just its usual "placate the masses" bollocks...

  3. Kit Temple

    3.5 Cents / Visit

    That number seems too high. Partner site clicks are very cheap to advertise on, they normally cost me about 4p-5p per click. So they are assuming that every single person that misspells a domain clicks on an advert while they are there - which seems to be bad logic.

    I would cut their estimated income number by a factor of 5-20 since most people will immediatey continue to search for their intended target site rather than hang around on the obviously wrong site looking at the adverts.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Even less than that

      I would think only 1 in 1000.

      As you say, people will just move on to the site they really wanted, completely ignoring the adverts.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    symptoms of the disease

    Hey @ ratfox. The significance is not the revenue but the behaviour.

    As with the recent court case in France, there is rumblings of unhapiness that Google makes revenue through advertising where people's TM's can be purchased through adsense by said TM's competitor to point to their own product.

    Looking for splatogun (TM) and get pushed to splashgun(TM) with an Adsense redirect.

    This is just another method of redirect. Google wins all ways however in terms of revenue.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not following the logic

    These are pay-per-click ads, right? Google etc get paid if people click through them?

    So if I try to go to (eg) and i misspell it as and lets say that's a page full of ads, am I really going to think "Oh, this isn't microsoft, but that looks like an interesting offer on holidays ..." and click through?

    Or am i going to just type the url in properly ...?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I can't believe is....

    ...that many people after miss typing a url then go on to click on ads...

    I'm off to register and stick some ads up!

    Oh no...nightwalker beat me to it!

  7. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    My Plan!

    1. Register ""

    2. Fill it with AdSense adverts

    3. ???

    4. Profit!!!

    1. cosmo the enlightened


      wait for the take down notice....

      oh wait...

      yes but, not but,


  8. Tzael

    Change the rules pertaining to domain registration

    It's about time that domain registrars change the rules so that domains can't be registered for the sole purpose of making cash from click-through ads.

    While I don't want to get into the topic of exactly how the rules should be changed I do think that the registrars need to play their part in making the internet a more enjoyable experience. Eliminating typo-squatters would be a welcome action.

  9. Mos Eisley Spaceport

    Clicking on ads?

    Surely not!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I've watched users

    I've watched plenty of users who, having mistyped a domain name, then click through an advert that seems to point to what they are actually after. If your misspelt domain is even slightly clever about what adverts it carries, clickthroughs will be a lot higher than a tech audience (who immediately recognise they have misspelt) would realise.

  11. JimC

    Many years ago, when I was younger and even more naive

    I used to think that search engines would be the death of the essentially parasitic advertising industry, because it would mean there would be a direct link between creators - whether of physical or intellectual - goods and the purchasers. Thus the customer would pay less and the creator would get paid more without the parasitic middleman.

    But look what's happened: the damn advertisers are getting more money than ever and the creators even less. And in the case of "Intellectual" goods the advertisers grab all the money through link farms of mp3s or whatever and the creator gets absolutely damn all.

    "May you rot... in your grave new world"

  12. Eddie Johnson

    Consider the 'bot Factor

    Other posters are assuming the ads get clicked on by humans. What are the odds that the page is carrying some Javascript that simulates a click the moment the page finishes loading. It just looks like the page redirected to the less knowledgeable. To the author though its that elusive step 3:

    1) Get typo-squatting domain

    2) Load it up with Google NonSense

    3) PROFIT!

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