Buzzword: Domain Tasting

“Domain Tasting” is to the net what “fat finger” was in the telephone world. For those of you not familiar with the concept, “fat finger” schemes were based off the premise that people make mistakes when dialing phone numbers. So scam artists got 1-800 numbers close to popular 1-800 numbers. The problem was that telcos allowed these 1-800 numbers to charge by the minute. So unsuspecting callers would be charged $2-3/minute if they misdialed a 1-800 “toll free” number.

ICANN has a rule to make life easier for people who register domain names. When you register a domain name, for the first 5 days, you are not charged for it. The idea is to provide you an opportunity to correct mis-spelt or incorrect domain names or to change your mind for any other reason.

The scammers are taking advantage of this rule. They are bulk registering domain names that resemble popular brands – for 5 days. During this period, they are not charged for the registration and by running ads – from Google Adwords or Yahoo or others - on these websites they are generating revenues from clicks that come from misspellings.

For example, one can register and this page might be visited by someone who either mistyped or thought Toyota was spelt with an “e”. Another variation could be or As you can see, the permutations and combinations are virtually limitless.

The problem for your business is that your brand is now associated with whatever this website is peddling. Take notice and do something about it. There are services available to track this abuse. You should consider signing up for one.

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Posted on 06/04/2009 by

Buzzword: Domain Tasting author sourabhhajela



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