What You Need, When You Need It
…is by far the most annoying thing to find on the Internet when you’re in an honest search for something. This “tagline” is part of a fake “search engine portal” used by the world’s largest cybersquatter, information.com, and this article aims to outline just how they “get away” with these registrations while gaining the audience and revenue they were really seeking all along.
Cybersquatting via “type-in traffic”
“Type-in traffic” refers to traffic gained by people who type stuff in directly into the address bar, usually preceded by the subdomain “www” and the TLD “com” (belligerence intended). While this is genuinely useful for very specific corporate names, e.g. Microsoft, it is a cybersquatter’s paradise for common words (examples below).
Try it: just type in a common, ideally non-pornographic or non-possibly-pornographic phrase into the address bar followed by a common TLD and see if you land on a cybersquatter’s page. Here’s some by information.com we found just screwing around before writing this article: bang.com, those.com, cool.com, chink.com, poop.com, spik.com, etc.
“What you need, when you need it” – The all-important tagline
what you need…” tagline is just one of many that popular cybersquatters use on their landing pages.
“Your source for virtually anything!” and others in the same vein all aim to accomplish the same thing: “fool” the casual, brain-dead web surfer into believing that this is a real page.
And what does this “landing page” accomplish, exactly? A quick highlight:
I highlighted the search bar, the link directory, and the fake navigation bar. All of these are related to the domain name (bullet.com in this case), and are also all ads. So, when a cybersquatter purchases a domain name, they populate it with an ad-filled landing page containing a tagline, a link directory, an “ad-engine”, and a host of other links in the hopes users click them and earn them money.
Want that name? Tough.
Even if they’re willing to sell the name they’re sitting on (9/10 times they are), it is going to cost you an arm and a leg. They basically want to charge you such an amount that they earn back the lost ad revenue from the newly-sold domain name, and so they can use the money to buy more names.
What’s sad is that the web’s unregistered common-TLD domain names are slowly being eaten away by these squatters. Web 3.0 websites all use odd TLDs like .fm or .ly, so I forsee a new web with more of a service-based emphasis using newer, hip TLDs instead of the dated .com (while it still retains its proper place, of course).
But that’s a different article, or in our case, a whole topic named “Web Darwinism“.
How they get away with it
If it is not trademarked, it is fair-game. Bullet is not trademarked, so it is OK to sit on without valid legal threat from a bullet manufacturer. Xerox, Microsoft, or Google on the other hand are all trademarked corporate names and therefore cannot be squatted via domain name.
There have been multiple precedents set this in regards to both cyber- and typo-squatting.
A few years ago, however, Tom Cruise raised a big stir about a cybersquatter using tomcruise.com, and actually won it back from them. No trademark. Nothing. Just a name.
So it just goes to show how cybersquatters are taking a risk when it comes to non-common or non-dictionary words, and it has come back to bite a few of them in the past.
But, it won’t stop them from doing this, so we as users just have to learn to use a reputable search engine when looking for something instead of typing it in ourselves. And if you land on a cybersquatter page anyways, don’t click anything to bring them in revenue. They’re going to hate me for posting this, but oh well.
Of course, just the fact that you’re reading this article shows that you probably know better than to fall for this anyways, but informing the general population of these practices will bring further awareness to this fact and slowly allow the squatters to die off with a newfound lack of incoming revenue (hopefully).
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