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10|21|2008 08:58 am EDT

Harvard Professor Says Google is Profiting From Typo-Squatting

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Legal Issues

Benjamin Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, has continued his quest against Google for profiting from “millions” of typo-squatting websites through Adsense advertisements.

Edelman – who is serving as the co-counsel in the Vulcan Golf, et al., v. Google et al.; trademark-holder class-action litigation – has recently resurfaced in the news for an article published in the McAfee Security Journal (Fall 2008, pages 34-37 – .pdf via wired).

In this report, Edelman explains the many issues surrounding typosquatting and its effects on domain owners before noting: “If Google ceased funding typosquatting, typosquatters would have far less incentive to register infringing domains; no other ad network is likely to pay typosquatters as much as Google does.”

Edelman’s research with the McAfee SiteAdvisor service points out that there are over 80,000 domains typosquatting on just the top 2,000 websites – and the further you look the more you’ll find. “There sure are a lot of these sites, in the millions,” Edelman said in an interview with Wired. “The overall majority show Google ads.”

BankofdAmerica.com is a prime example of his complaint (site no longer shows ads, but there’s a pic of its previous state at Wired). The website is a blatant typo, yet Google placed advertisements for the Bank of America, Wachovia, Business.com, AccountNow.net, and others.

“This is one of the unsavory ways we all end up paying Google,” explained Edelman. “Users don’t have to write Google a check to receive Google’s services. But, one way or another, Google manages to get users’ money.”

[via Wired & DNExpert]

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7 Comments

R

October 21, 2008 @ 4:16 pm EDT

this guy is still dicking around the man pool? I thought since Eliot Spitzer got done playing butt-darts with this dood he’d stop picking on online advertising. Maybe Edelman will serve the same fate when he gets caught with a high-priced male hooker.

UFO.ORG

October 21, 2008 @ 5:46 pm EDT

If Google offered the service where registered trademark holders could pay to cancel out variations of their marks then many typosquaters would fold.

More importantly, Google can be sued where it profits from an illegal act. Each time a typosquatter profits from another

Matt

October 22, 2008 @ 1:25 am EDT

They will abandon profiting from typo in the domain business. Currently the domain business is 3% of their total profits, which is actually a lot, but from what I’ve read out there they are working on a new system that will disable typos from being monetized via the AFD feed.

Apogee Weblog

October 22, 2008 @ 12:39 pm EDT

Harvard Professor Says What Apogee Weblog Readers Already Know…

Yesterday, via Domain Name News, I read this post: Harvard Professor Says Google is Profitting From Typo Squatting. Readers of Apogee Weblog have been aware of this issue for years. For instance……

Mike

October 25, 2008 @ 4:14 am EDT

Matt, it’s probably more. try 2-3x ;)

[…] the traffic is coming from and adjusting payouts accordingly. It surely doesn’t help that Google’s role in monetizing trademark domain names is also under the microscope now.

[…] the traffic is coming from and adjusting payouts accordingly. It surely doesn’t help that Google’s role in monetizing trademark domain names is also under the microscope now. From DNN sources, Google contracts reportedly allow for a ‘clawback’ on previously […]

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