What is typosquatting?


also called URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting, and possibly brandjacking which relies on mistakes such as typographical errors made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter


The typosquatter's URL will usually be one of four kinds, all similar to the victim site address:

(In the following, the intended website is "example.com")

Once in the typosquatter's site, the user may also be tricked into thinking that they are in fact in the real site; through the use of copied or similar logos, website layouts or content.


There are several different reasons for typosquatters buying a typo domain:


Many companies have garnered reputations for ruthlessly chasing down typosquatted names, including Verizon, Lufthansa, and Lego. Lego, for example, has spent roughly $500,000 USD on taking 309 cases through UDRP proceedings.

Celebrities have also frequently pursued their domain names, from singers to star athletes. Prominent examples include Basketball player Dirk Nowitzki's UDRP of DirkSwish.com and actress Eva Longoria's UDRP of EvaLongoria.org.

An example of corporate typosquatting is yuube.com, targeting YouTube users. Similarly, www.airfrance.com has been typosquatted by www.arifrance.com, diverting users to a website peddling discount travel.

And even Wikipedia itself has been frequently targeted by typosquatters, with several different URLs; in addition to the URL mentioned in the Infobox screenshot, "wikipeda.org" (Wikipedia without the third lowercase 'I'), which seems to host an imitation of Wikipedia that really redirects users to spam, and "vvikipedia.org" (using two V's instead of a 'W'), which supposedly is hosted by GoDaddy and is a simple single page with nothing but ads on it.

In United States law

In the United States, the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) contains a clause (Section 3(a), amending 15 USC 1117 to include sub-section (d)(2)(B)(ii)) aimed at combatting typosquatting.

However, on April 17, 2006, controversial evangelist Jerry Falwell failed to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision allowing Christopher Lamparello to use "www.fallwell.com". Relying on a plausible misspelling of Falwell's name, Lamparello's gripe site presents misdirected visitors with scriptural references that counter the fundamentalist preacher's scathing rebukes against homosexuality. In Lamparello v. Falwell, the high court let stand a 2005 Fourth Circuit finding that "the use of a mark in a domain name for a gripe site criticizing the markholder does not constitute cybersquatting."

WIPO resolution procedure

Under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), trademark holders can file a case at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against typosquatters (as with cybersquatters in general). The complainant has to show that the registered domain name is identical or confusingly similar to their trademark, that the registrant has no legitimate interest in the domain name, and that the domain name is being used in bad faith.

Online misspelled domain names generator


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