In their recently released study, the domain name strategy consultancy FairWinds Partners reported that the companies owning the 250 most trafficked Websites are losing over 448 million impressions and $327 million a year through domains that are typos of the top 250 Websites.
A domain typo is typically a very common misspelling of a popular domain name that is usually only a keystroke or two away from the correct domain name. Typo-squatters generate revenue by leeching off the traffic of a popular domain name or trademark by purchasing a domain name that is confusingly similar to the original and typo-squatting on that website in the hopes that fumble fingered consumers trying to reach a popular domain name will type in the squatter’s domain name instead. These typo-squatted domains are often full of pay-per-click ads that generate revenue for the typo-squatter every time they are clicked.
Under the direction of its Managing Partner Josh Bourne, FairWinds has conducted a study of the top 250 Websites that are six characters or more (domains with less than 6 characters were purposefully omitted because they more frequently run the risk of being the correct name of another brand) to measure the acute effects of typosquatting on a cross-section of brands and the full extent of its economic impact on brands.
The study draws two major conclusions; first, that brand owners are greatly benefitted from recognizing that typo-squatters pose a significant problem, and second, by acting on this recognized problem and properly prioritizing recover of infringing typo-squat domains based directly on which of these typo-squatters are drawing the most traffic away from your brand.
Bourne notes that;
“Typically, less than one percent of typo variations of any brand are responsible for more than 50 percent of traffic diversion and risk to the brand's reputation. This means that by prioritizing the infringements that cause the most harm, brands will be able to see a significant return on investment by recovering the most important domains."
Phil Lodico, another Managing Partner at FairWinds, asserted that;
"Eighty-eight percent of domains identified were not owned by the eponymous brand, which is evidence of the massive scale of the cybersquatting problem. However, of those 28,000 third-party owned domains, only 4,632 (or 16.5 percent) garner meaningful traffic - the trick is knowing how to identify what matters most.”
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