Facebook Versus The Axis of Evil
There is something about “typosquatting” that I admire in a twisted way. Typosquatting is the practice of registering as a domain name a common misspelling of a more popular term. The theory is that fat fingered typists will wind up on the “typo” site, even though they originally intended to go to the site of the popular name. I have this image of Dr. Evil stroking Mr. Bigglesworth and coming up with names like “fadebook.com” or “facemook.com” designed to lure unsuspecting Facebook users, particularly ones with typing skills around my level, to visit a counterfeit site. Well, while it may or may not have been Dr. Evil’s doing, those fake Facebook names, along with several others, were the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Social Media behemoth. Eleven defendants – including Cleanser Products, Counter Balance Enterprises and Intercontinental Domain – failed to appear in the case. But the court discussed their activities anyway. Each purposely devised the various names to divert traffic. Counter Balance, for example, used a number of names that each differed from Facebook by only one letter (that’s the thing about criminal masterminds – they are so predictable). Cleanser Products used the typos to redirect users to landing pages like socialrewardssurvey.com and socialrewardscenter.com, where visitors were encouraged to divulge personal information and click on advertisements. The unholy trio should maybe have shown up. In their absence, the court awarded Facebook $2.8 million and required the defaulting defendants to turn over to Facebook more than 100 domain names. Not quite Dr. Evil sized numbers but nothing to sneeze at. It might be worth misspelling the name of your business and Googling it. You might be surprised by what you discover.