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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Business 2.0 on CNBC: Domainers Like Ham Profit from Spam

I don't think domainers will be too pleased with this video segment from CNBC last night:
CNBC video

The CNBC title for the video segment is "He makes millions on typos" and has this description:
May 21: Kevin Ham registers common URL mistakes and redirects those making the mistake to his all-ad site. And he's making a fortune doing it. "On the Money's" Melissa Lee reports.
Some of the domainer bloggers I read (yes, many of us in the SEO/M world respect some of the domainers in the domain industry) seemed quite giddy yesterday at the thought of having their industry profiled on CNBC:
  1. The Biggest Domain Story Of All Times
  2. Domainers on TV and Business 2.0 June Cover Story?
  3. Domainer Story in “On The Money on CNBC” now (7pm Eastern)
I watched the segment on CNBC last night and was a bit disappointed. Paul Sloan's a great reporter. I subscribe to Business 2.0 and particularly enjoy his articles. They seem more like William Gibson short stories than business articles. CNBC chose to focus on one aspect of the story, how some domainers profit from typosquatting. If I wasn't already aware of the domain industry, I would have been left with this impression: Domainers work with Yahoo! and use typosquatting to make money off the backs of unsuspecting online advertisers.

I suspect there's some consternation both at Yahoo! today and in domainer circles. I'm quite irritated with Yahoo! for lumping this kind of traffic in with their Yahoo! Search Marketing traffic. That's part of the reason I dropped out of the Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador program (it was funny to be mentioned in a WebProNews video update). I don't expect a Yahoo! blog to mention the CNBC video, but domainers seem a little bit uncomfortable under the microscope today. Here are some reactions from domaining bloggers:
  1. Frank Michlick
  2. Jay Westerdal
  3. Sahar Sarid
  4. Frank Schilling
What's your take? Is the .cm typosquatting redirect trick a clever hack or more search engine spam?

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