Google Inc. may be raking in a massive $500 million a year from the companies and individuals who register misleading domain addresses, according to a recent study.
The study, conducted by a noted Harvard Professor Ben Edelman, is pivoting around a contentious technique known as “typosquatting”, which involves registering for an improperly spelled variant of some popular website address.
Presented at the Financial Security and Data Cryptography conference in Tenerife, Spain, the study estimated that as many as 938,000 web addresses have been typosquatting on the leading 3,264 “.com” websites across the internet, expecting unsuspecting web users to misspell a web address.
Edelman further claimed that around 57 percent of those typosquatting domains have signed up for Google pay-per-click adverts.
Incidentally, Google’s terms of service involves preventing trademark violations, which also include typosquatting , and the company says it will bump off violating web addresses if it discovers them or made familiar of them.
In spite of this policy, Edelman is alleging that the search engine giant has been harbouring these domains, and as a result minting money out of it.
Divulging critical details on these typosquatting URLs, the study noted: “If these typo domains were treated as a single website, that site would be ranked by Alexa as the 10th most popular website in the world. It would be more popular, in unique daily visitors, than Twitter.com, Myspace.com, or Amazon.com”.
Google is not as good as it has led us to believe of the past few years. Buzz is the latest incident of Google deviation from its "don't be evil" motto. There's also the major issue of spammy websites like Squidoo or Mahalo which tend to generate a lot of money.