Yahoo is wrong target for Typo-Squatting Critics
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
Yahoo has been sued for placing ads on typo-squatting ads, but Yahoo is the wrong target.
The Washington Post is reporting about a lawsuit against Yahoo for placing text ads in adware and on typo domains. More than likely Yahoo is unaware that its ads are being syndicated in adware. These ads are probably displayed in full-screen pop-ups that publishers are sending through adware against Yahoo’s wishes.
I have a clear opinion on the topic of typo domains and Yahoo. Yahoo is actually a leader in stomping out typosquatting domains and manually checks many parked domains for perceived trademark violations. The example given in the lawsuit, expedai.com, actually forwards to another parked domain, airlineeticket.com. You can understand how Yahoo would approve airlineetickets.com and not be aware that expedai.com is forwarding to it.
Also, the lawsuit says of parking pages: “These sites appear if users incorrectly guess, mis-remember, or otherwise mistype a domain”. That statement is flat out false. Direct navigation to parking pages is a legitimate source of web traffic. When someone guesses at a domain name for a relevant topic they are not “mistyping” a domain.
Ron Jackson of DNJournal is upset about an article in The Washington Post a couple days ago that he said took his comments about typosquatting out of context, as he wrote in a message to his readers:
Finally, mainstream media outlets continue to write articles about the domain business. This week pieces came out in both the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. As usual, the Wall Street Journal article was an accurate account (except for the misuse of the term cybersquatter). The Washington Post article was a different story as it took comments from me completely out of context and left out critical information I gave them so they could produce a very slanted piece aimed at embarassing Google.com (who happens to be a Post competitor for the new audience and advertising dollars).
They also cast honest domain investors in a negative light, implying that holders of generic domains were somehow guilty of trademark infringement. I will give you specific details on the distortions in this article in the next newsletter (and will also talk about it in a speech I will be delivering at Traffic this week). For now suffice it to say that this was an example of dishonest journalism in my opinion. The Post and other newspapers are losing readers and advertisers to the internet in droves. I can see why they view companies like Google with fear as they are replacing a role the newspapers previously filled. Still that does not make it OK to use your news section to distribute propaganda. Fortunately, what we saw in the Post has been the exception rather than the rule in recent months.
When people are making money lawyers will try to get a piece of the action. That’s exactly what’s going on here.