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Cybersquatting May Net Google $500M Annually

By meticulously analyzing data, Tyler Moore and Benjamin Edelman of Harvard University have revealed that Google may be making nearly half a billion dollars on an annual basis from cybersquatting.

Cyberquatting is loosely defined as the act of registering a domain name with typos, trademark variations, etc with ill-intent to bring in traffic from the actual site. A cybersquatter seeking to get himself/herself a slice of someone’s traffic pie could register a similarly-named domain, in hopes that visitors will mistype the domain name, and be directed to their page instead.

A great case of a cybesquatted website is ccnn.com. Some users may mistakenly type another “c” in “CNN”, and be directed to a page with advertisements.

Money, of course is the driving force. If enough folks make typographical errors and are directed to a cybersquatting website, the owner of that domain/site is pocketing an income from your mistake (provided you’re clicking their ads, which many people do).

So what is Google role in all of this? Google has one of the internet’s top advertising schemes — Adsense. It’s so amazingly easy to implement AdSense on a domain name, even a caveman can do it. With every ad click on Google’s advertising network, you can bet even Google’s getting a slice of that pie.

A message from a Google spokesperson indicates that Google will abolish any AdSense publisher from advertising if they are discovered to be cybersquatting, according to New Scientist.

Since the internet’s infancy, Cybersquatting has been around. Many of the initial cybersquatters are now very wealthy individuals, sometimes holding a domain name hostage, prompting the rightful owner (of a trademark, for instance) to hand over cash to take custody of the domain during the dot-com bubble time period. Naturally, things have changed massively on the ‘net with regard to intellectual rights since those times, but evidently, cybersquatting is still a problem.

  

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