VeriSign To Get Into The Typosquatting Business

from the funny-how-that-works dept

While John Zuccarini has finally been arrested for typosquatting, it seems that some big name businesses are looking to make quite a profit from the same basic idea (without the porn and the mousetrapping). Unfortunately, this article is only in the Wall Street Journal, with a paid subscription required. I’ve been looking for a subscription-free version all day, but no one has picked up on it, which is really unfortunate – because it’s a big story. Already, Microsoft, in some sense, “typosquats” for anyone using Internet Explorer. If you put in an incorrect domain name, you’re taken to an MSN search page. AOL apparently redirects users to an AOL search page (with ads). VeriSign is now realizing that this could be profitable and are testing a system to redirect typo domains to the correct domain automatically. They say it’s just to make the user experience better, but the article wonders if they’re going to try to profit off of it with advertisements. For the companies like Microsoft and AOL who are getting lots of traffic (and ad views) from typos, the idea of VeriSign swiping all that traffic doesn’t make them happy. Other registrars (for .biz and .info, for instance) are apparently experimenting with the same sorts of redirections as well. Of course, if Microsoft and AOL complain, some might wonder what right they have to that traffic in the first place.

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Comments on “VeriSign To Get Into The Typosquatting Business”

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aNonMooseCowherd says:

DNS is not the right tool

DNS was never intended to server as a “yellow pages” type directory and is not especially well suited to it. DNS was first introduced long before the net was commercialized, and there were few enough domain names that people generally knew what domain name they wanted. What we need is more like the phone book, where you can look up a name and get a list of organization/personal names with a brief description of each and its URL. That would eliminate all this nonsense about people trying to guess an organizatin’s domain name, especially when the organization is well known by an acronym that may be shared by other organizations, or when it might or might not have hyphens, and so on.

Chris says:


There could be no bigger misuse of authority given to any company that controls so much of a needed service that should be governed by public organizations. No public company that can earn a profit should have been allowed to have that much responsibility for something so crucial to internet life. Their move to be like a msn 404 search screen is discusting. I can turn the msn search off. I can choose to get the information. Now imagine if a virus was inserted on the versign search page… hmm the possibilities.

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