Money in typos
April 30th, 2006

“Google,which runs the largest ad network on the Internet,is making millions of dollars a year by filling otherwise unused Web sites with ads,”this Seattle Times article says.”In many instances,these ad-filled pages appear when users mistype an Internet address,such as “BistBuy.com.”This new form of advertising is turning into a booming business that some say is cluttering the Internet and could be violating trademark rules.It also triggered a speculative frenzy of investment in domain names,pushing the value of some beyond $1 million.Google specifically bars Web addresses that infringe on trademarks from using its ad network,but a review of placeholder Web sites that result from misspelled domain names of well-known companies found many of the ads on those pages come directly from Google.”It seems very hard to reconcile Google’s support of this activity with their ‘Do No Evil’ motto,” said Ben Edelman,a Harvard University researcher who has looked extensively into advertising on unused domains.Google is defending its business practices,saying it removes participating sites from its ad network if a trademark owner complains those sites are confusingly similar.”Unless it is confusing to somebody,trademark law doesn’t apply,”said Rose Hagan,Google’s chief trademark lawyer”.

Typed too fast?Google profits from your typo


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