That’s how many visitors a recent study by FairWinds Partners says are lost annually to online users who type in the wrong url. And that’s only visitors lost by the top 25 Internet retailers. There are billions lost across the top 1000. According to Fairwinds ” the 25 most commonly entered typo domains in the study, or just 0.9 percent, are responsible for 71.3 percent of the total amount of affected traffic” Here’s how they came up with their data
The following 25 sites were included in the study: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Apple.com, Netflix.com, BestBuy.com, JCPenney.com, Overstock.com, Sears.com, Kohls.com, Lowes.com, HomeDepot.com, TicketMaster.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, Staples.com, Cabelas.com, Macys.com, BabiesRUs.com, Kmart.com, LaneBryant.com, Walgreens.com, Zappos.com, Shutterfly.com, Borders.com and AllPosters.com. When we add up the traffic to all these typo domains, we find that they receive a total of 90,320,336 visitors annually. This means that for 25 of the top online retailers, over 90 million potential customers are being diverted or distracted, resulting in a negative online experience that reflects poorly on the brands in question
There have been hundreds of these types of studies and obviously this was written and done by a company that gets paid to help companies protect their brand, but the data still spells it out very clearly. There are still domainers making millions squatting on the typos of other companies. It’s something nobody will talk about and is being done by some of the most respected domain investors. While I’m not perfect myself, as I have two typos, it’s hard to promote our industry to the mass public when we have portfolios made up of other people’s brand typos. I’ll never forget the big TechCrunch article on the purchase of Symbolics.com by Aron Meystedt last year. While I think Aron is an incredible business person and I dream to be what he’s become, the air was really let out out of the balloon and the opinion went from domain investor to cybersquatter when one person pointed out the typos in his portfolio. Of course we know Aron in a different light, but to the general public it just added to their stereotype.
So as a business person and a domain investor I stand in the middle. I understand both sides and it all comes down to money. If I am a business brand owner I’m suing you if I think you are illegally using my brand. As a domain investor I am looking for domains that return a profit while trying to avoid anything illegal. I realize the money of typos is hard to pass up but I hope that as domain investors find other sources of revenues that they will focus less on stealing from other people’s brands and start building their own. I hope that the courts and arbitrators will give name to their rightful owners and harshly penalize those that wrongfully seek out names that don’t infringe. Then and only then will the general public understand that domains are merely Internet Real Estate and it’s a legitimate business that has rules and ethics.