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What is Typosquatting?
Typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting which relies on typographical errors made by Internet users when typing a website address into a web browser. Numerous potential spelling mistakes in the website’s address may lead to other URLs, usually an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter.
The typosquatter’s site may deceive users by the use of copied or similar logos, website design and content and make users think that they are in fact in the real site.
Why typosquatters buy a typo domain?
Typosquatters usually profit by taking advantage of the fact that there are numerous potential misspellings while typing in a hurry. Some reasons why typosquatters buy a typo domain include the following:
- To re-sell the typo domain back to the brand owner;
- To make pay-per-click revenues from direct navigation by “parking” the typo domain
- To redirect the traffic generated by misspelled domain names to a competitor;
- To earn commissions from the brand owner’s affiliate program by redirecting the traffic generated by misspelled domain back to the brand itself, but via an affiliate link;
- This kind of typosquatting (typo-domain affiliate) is one of the most financially damaging scenarios as it drains profits from the legitimate brand for the traffic that the brand would have generated anyway had the typo domain not existed.
- To practice phishing (intercepting passwords from unsuspecting visitors) by mimicking the brand’s site
- To install drive-by malware or revenue-generating adware onto the visitors’ devices;Drive-by downloads are especially dangerous because they automatically install software on end users’ computers without them knowing.
- To harvest e-mail messages sent mistakenly to the typo domain by misspelling the address;
- To block use of the typo domain by others, to install spyware and viruses, and otherwise take control of unsuspecting Internet users’ computers.