Posted February 18, 2010 10:20 am by with 4 comments

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Despite criticism, Google’s AdSense for Domains program still exists, and now we know why.

It’s earning close to $500 million a year for the search engine!

According to New Scientist, two researchers at Harvard University have conducted some simple calculations to come up with the estimate:

Moore and Edelman…estimate that each of the 3264 top sites is targeted by around 280 typo domains…up to 68 million people a day could visit a typo site, they say. They estimate that almost 60 per cent of typo sites could have adverts supplied by Google.

When you mix and heat at 390F for 20 minutes, you end up with a typo-squatting cake worth $497 million a year in revenue!

All done! Nothing else to discuss, right?

Well, not really. You see, one of the researchers, Benjamin Edelman, is the same Edelman serving as co-counsel on a lawsuit seeking damages for…wait for it…ads appearing on typo-squatting domains.

He says that his involvement in the suit did not influence the results of his research. "I’m not doing it for the money," Edelman says of the court action. "I’m doing it because it’s important."

And the money. The money’s nice too. 😉

  • Last time I checked, if you register a domain name, you could easily register all the typos for that name as well. Sounds like the entrepreneurial spirit in action to me, and Google is just glad to help.
    .-= Gregg Brown´s last blog ..Brand Management; Lessons from Toyota =-.

  • Gregg: Typosquatting is illegal. It’s not “entrepreneurial spirit”; it’s against the law. See the federal statute on point, the ACPA, which specifically prohibits “register[ing], traffic[ing], or us[ing]” domains that are identical to, or confusingly similar to, trademarks.

    As to Google being “glad to help”: I think that’s a fair summary of what Google is doing. But the ACPA prohibits “us[ing]” the infringing domains. Using a domain to show ads is, under a fair reading of the ACPA, a kind of “use” — hence prohibited.

    You may feel that typosquatting isn’t a big deal, or that Google shouldn’t be held responsible for its role. You’re entitled to that view. But I see ample reason to doubt that the ACPA is in accord.

    Andy: To your question about motivation: Fact is, I’ve put hundreds of hours into this case and haven’t made a penny. Not one! If my goal were solely to maximize my personal income, I’d definitely choose a different approach.

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