David Churbuck had a great post about domain squatters today, which is definitely a must read…he calls it the “bottom of the online marketing barrel.”
It’s a bigger issue…if you have children.
I sat last weekend next to my daughters, 7 & 8, as they surfed. At that age, spelling isn’t exactly a strong point. As they moved around the heavily branded sites they like, such as http://www.postopia.com (Post Cereal), bratz.com, barbie.com, disney.com, they often mispelled the url. Each time I had to interject “STOP”…
To their credit, postopia has bought up many of the mispelling surrounding their main domain name. However, type in http://www.postpia.com, and you get something that really ticked me off. One of the domain squatters, offering links to chat, music downloads, dating, and nightclub/dance (which would catch any little girl interested in ballet).
My experience with these sites is that they open a ton of brilliantly colored popups, and I believe they’re havens for spyware/malware. To target children is utterly wrong.
Lesson: watch your children online always. They can be in jeopardy, but even if they are not, they will innocently click those little “install buttons” that we’ve all learned to ignore – and your system and you will probably play the price. The net can be a very dark place, and one mistyped url can lead them into places you never want them to go.
David comments back on his blog:
These guys aren’t playing the “misspell” game, they are basically conducting risk arbitrage on domain purchases, rolling them up into a network, and leveraging “found” traffic into an SEM/SEO play.
the misspell swine are in a different league.
Reminding me of my initial point (okay, I was writing off the cuff).
Right – I forgot to get to that point…the other issue I’ve seen with my kids is that they definitely will try “www.ballet.com” or “www.ilikehorses.com” – and I’ve got to redirect them to google and be sure that they are 100% supervised when they’re searching. They don’t click a link unless I read the description and approve it.
When I got home from Indianapolis last week, their machine was blue screened. Turns out Mommy thinks supervising them can be done from the backyard while doing garden chores. I have yet to convince her otherwise, so now the machine is simply locked while I’m not sitting next to it.