A Look at Domain-Squatting

A recent Business 2.0 article offered a behind the scenes look at the highly lucrative and controversial business of domain-squatting. Featured in this piece was Kevin Ham, a man who has made a fortune simply by driving people to the sponsored links and ads on sites like Agoga.com.

Out of nowhere Agoga quickly ramped up to more than 1.5 million page views per month. Every time browsers click on one of the ads offered on Agoga and similar sites, Ham and fellow "domainers" cash in. It’s that simple.

Traffic is driven to cash generating portals like Agoga through a number of techniques; the most popular is funneling unassuming consumers from misspelled domains like myspace.cm.

The latest scheme being pulled off by industry experts like Ham is buying unregistered .cm domains. Since .cm is the URL country code of Cameroon, a deal is in place where the Government of the west African country gets a cut of the action as well. Other countries on the radar screen include Columbia (.co) and Oman (.om).

Not surprisingly, a look at the top ten most frequent .cm mishaps closely parallels the most popular sites. The frequency at which these typos occur is significant.

Interesting to note is that some typo culprits are making the same mistake more than once in a month. Myspace.cm sessions per person is 1.4 per month!!

Only the internet, the new Wild West, allows for a market that thrives on humans making mistakes. It kind of makes you wonder, what’s next?

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