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WEB HOSTING ARTICLES

Donít Fall Victim to Typosquatting
By: Terri Wells
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    2005-11-23

    Table of Contents:
  • Donít Fall Victim to Typosquatting
  • Thereís Gold in Them Thar Typos
  • Fighting Typosquatting
  • Bring in the Big Guns

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    Donít Fall Victim to Typosquatting - Fighting Typosquatting


    (Page 3 of 4 )

    The first step a website owner might take in fighting typosquatting is purchasing domain names that are common typos of its URL. These domain names are then set up to redirect to the main, correctly spelled domain. While there are theoretically a nearly unlimited number of possible typos, a website owner should not bankrupt himself trying to register all of them; the five or ten most common might well suffice.

    If someone has successfully registered a typo of your domain name, you certainly have recourse. The first step is to send the offender a cease and desist letter. You might not need to go any further.

    Another approach you can take is to try to buy the typoed domain from its owner. This may be exactly what the typosquatter is looking for, however, so be careful. Consider what buying Ė or not buying -- this domain may cost you, and not just in money.

    If you cannot live with the typosquatting, and you cannot reach a satisfactory accommodation with the typosquatter, you may need to take the case to court. If the typosquatter is one of the more malicious kinds, it could damage your business. You donít want to be known for hosting malware; if that is what the typosquatter is doing, you could find yourself tarred with the same brush by visitors trying to get to your site.

    If it is any consolation, you would be in good company. Wikipedia was (and might still be) a victim of typosquatting in which the typoed domain names feature pop-up ads, spyware/adware downloads, and ad-generating search engines. Google went to court, and won, a case against typosquatter Sergey Gridasov. Gridasov owned four domains that were typos of Googleís website. Finnish online security company F-Secure issued an advisory about one of the sites, saying in reference to googkle.com that ďIf a user opens a malicious website, his/her computer gets hijacked Ė a lot of different malware gets automatically downloaded and installed: trojan droppers, trojan downloaders, backdoors, a proxy trojan and a spying trojan. Also a few adware-related files are installed.Ē Thatís hardly the kinds of actions Google would want to be related with, especially since the company slogan is still ďDo no evilĒ!

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