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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Is this typosquatting?
    One of my affililates uses this language to describe how they drive sales:

    XXXX replaces DNS errors caused by 'fatfinger' syntax mistakes (such as ww. or .con) or commonly mistyped brand domain names caused by keyboard proximity, letter repetition or letter reversal. Without Barefruit, the users would experience an ‘Error 404’ page – effectively a dead end for the user.

    XXXXX's patented technology analyses these errors and replaces them with a page showing the appropriate brand banner and 'did you mean?' link to the brand site. XXXXX offers the user the facility to navigate back to the brand they were looking for, rather than hitting a dead-end or being lost to another brand.


    Are they typosquatting?
    Dyan Carlson
    ["My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."- The Dalai Lama

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Actually it appears that they've developed a way to direct the user to the site that they originally intended as opposed their own site with a similar name. Typo squatting would typically be the latter where they redirect the user to their own site based on the misspelling.

    That being said, it appears from their web site that this is a solution that they sell to ISPs and is utilized at the DNS level. I assume that they are applying to your program as affiliates. While I can see value that they can add to merchants by directing fat fingered typist to the correct domain, it would take a major stretch of the imagination to compensate them as affiliates.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    ... only replaces DNS errors on their way to the user and never touches valid domain names.
    How do they replace these errors? Do they have software on end user computers?

    If they are only replacing the DNS errors it's not typosquatting per se nor in the direct definaition, IMO. However what alarms me is how they identify and replace the errors KWIM?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I had some emails with them a couple years ago. As I remember, they have deals setup with ISPs for this. They don't, or didn't when I talked with them, use software on the user's PC.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    After more research yes, I see they have deals with the ISPs.

    Roadrunner in NY does something similar and I don't understand how they are allowed to do it, I use Chrome google is my default SE and if I type ****** into the addybar, then it should go to G and say:

    Your search - ******** - did not match any documents.

    Suggestions:

    Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    Try different keywords.
    Try more general keywords.
    Taking me to some ISP commissioned page is wrong (in my example).

    An ISP is to provide Internet access, not to capture clicks on typos, fat fingers nor earn commissions on such.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  6. #6
    I like traffic lights
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    Domain owner typosquatting = bad.

    ISP typosquatting = NO PROBLEMO!

  7. #7
    Affiliate Network Rep KierM's Avatar
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    We had a discussion about these guys over at a4u a while back. Link is here
    [B]Kier Marston[/B] - Account Manager
    Email/AIM/MSN: Kier@webgains.com
    [URL=http://us.webgains.com/affiliates.html]Join Webgains[/URL] , Read [URL=http://usablog.webgains.com/]our blog[/URL]

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    It's reasons like this that I just hate CJ...
    Somehow, typosquatting is ok, as long as the affiliate has disclosed it....

    Hi Dyan,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This publisher is definitely typosquatting but they disclose this in their special program description so they are not in violation:

    Q: Who is Barefruit partnered with? A: Barefruit works with Tier 1 Internet Service Providers (such as Earthlink and other ISPs in the US, the UK, Brazil, and Canada) to replace error pages (such as “page cannot be displayed”) experienced by customers when surfing. Q: How does Barefruit work? A: Barefruit replaces DNS errors caused by 'fatfinger' syntax mistakes (such as ww. or .con) or commonly mistyped brand domain names caused by keyboard proximity, letter repetition or letter reversal. Without Barefruit, the users would experience an ‘Error 404’ page – effectively a dead end for the user. Barefruit's patented technology analyses these errors and replaces them with a page showing the appropriate brand banner and 'did you mean?' link to the brand site. Barefruit offers the user the facility to navigate back to the brand they were looking for, rather than hitting a dead-end or being lost to another brand. Q: How many brands do Barefruit work with? A: Barefruit currently works with over 1800 key brands in both the US and the UK. Q: What kind of traffic could Barefruit generate? A: Barefruit generates high volume, high quality traffic and only replaces DNS errors on their way to the user. Barefruit never touches valid domain names. Q: What are the risks? A: There are none. Everything is operated on a CPA basis meaning that you only pay when a sale is made. Barefruit develops long term relationships with advertisers giving them the opportunity to realize the value of the traffic that Barefruit provides. Q: What happens if we don’t work with Barefruit? A: When an advertiser is not running an ad with Barefruit the users will receive relevant pay per click listings. Whether a brand appears on these lists is dependant on whether or not they are sponsoring a keyword with Yahoo!. Working with Barefruit however ensures the brand banner ad holds top position on the page, above these pay per click listings. As Barefruit analyses error traffic to determine the brand the user was seeking, the leads provided are of high quality. Q: What if I want to switch off the campaign? A: You can do this whenever you wish. If you would like to run seasonal programs this is easily implemented. Q: Where can I find out more information? A: Go to http://www.barefruit.co.uk/cj/error.htm

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue please include them in a reply to the email address listed below.

    Sincerely,
    Network Compliance
    Commission Junction, a ValueClick company
    Dyan Carlson
    ["My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."- The Dalai Lama

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guinness618
    It's reasons like this that I just hate CJ...
    Somehow, typosquatting is ok, as long as the affiliate has disclosed it....

    Hi Dyan,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This publisher is definitely typosquatting but they disclose this in their special program description so they are not in violation:
    OMG?? Like I keep saying Network Quality is an oxymoron!

    Make sure to say your a thief, and breaking US Federal laws we'll enable it for a cut of the action ---- WTF????

    Don't you think it's time to switch trusted third parties ??
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Dyan I'd be curious as to their reply if you asked CJ how they consider Barefruit's solution affiliate marketing. This is clearly an application that involves no marketing what so ever. It appears that CJ is willing to accept any method that could possibly generate a commission since it also generates a network fee.

    This application should not be allowed to generate an affiliate commission.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  11. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    After more research yes, I see they have deals with the ISPs.

    Roadrunner in NY does something similar and I don't understand how they are allowed to do it, I use Chrome google is my default SE and if I type ****** into the addybar, then it should go to G and say:



    Taking me to some ISP commissioned page is wrong (in my example).

    An ISP is to provide Internet access, not to capture clicks on typos, fat fingers nor earn commissions on such.
    Not to move this off topic, but the situation H explains here is aggravating to me as well. I'll bet Google is ticked too, as Roadrunner shows Yahoo ads, I believe.

    On topic: For CJ to say this is within the realm of acceptability is not surprising, yet disappointing. It's yet another way that merchants are paying unwarranted commissions, and perhaps inadvertently paying the wrong affiliate in a lot of cases.
    Kevin Webster
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  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager
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    From what I understand this is very illegal. Although these affiliates give a good explanation to why merchants benefit, I'm not sure one should be rewarded for this.

    It just seems unethical to capitalize on someones mistyped trademarked term.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonnievr
    From what I understand this is very illegal.
    No, it's not illegal, and it's not typosquatting. Is it unethical? Well, since they disclose the fact, the merchant has full knowledge of how the commissions are generated. On my RoadRunner connection, when I typo a domain that doesn't exist, I get Time Warner's DNS error page with AdWords + natural results on it, and pretty much every time the official brand's search ad is displayed. I don't see this as being any more unethical than an ISP monetizing DNS errors through PPC ads. At least in this case, the merchant is aware of the promotion method and can easily decline it - Google doesn't have a "don't show on ISP dns error pages" option.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager
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    Yes, you are right. They disclose the fact *after* you do do homework and ask. They never mention that are monetizing the typo of a registered trademark. That ultimately is what it is..

    From what I have read the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) was created to stop users from profiting off domains that are "deceptively similar" to a trademark. So although it isn't cybersquatting-- the whole point is to stop users from profiting off trademarks.

    I honestly wonder what trademark and corporate attorneys think of this sort of thing. If I was an attorney I would think there is much opportunity in this area.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    I have a relatively simple question, which I would appreciate all feedback on -

    If the advertiser is comfortable with or has employed a company to handle typos in the domain to redirect to the advertisers site is this a questionable practice?




    c3

  16. #16
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie.Calabrese
    I have a relatively simple question, which I would appreciate all feedback on -

    If the advertiser is comfortable with or has employed a company to handle typos in the domain to redirect to the advertisers site is this a questionable practice?
    Absolutely. If an affiliate site was responsible for directing that user to the advertiser in the first place, do you think it's fair that their cookie should be overwritten and that they should lose a commission because the user mistypes the advertisers name?

    Advertisers pay affiliates to generate interest in their brand and to direct motivated buyers to their web site, not for functioning as a spell checker.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager
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    Charlie - You could look at it as a service and a cost of doing business..however I like Rematt's statement.

    As an affiliate manager who wants to treat publishers right - I want to keep and take care of the ones that work hard to maintain or enhance the value of my brand!

    Thanks Rematt's for helping me finalize my decision of NOT getting caught up in all the networks hype that this is an acceptable practice. I believe it is not.
    Last edited by bonnievr; October 14th, 2009 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typo

  18. #18
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Since this thread refuses to die, here's an article by Ben Edelman from May of this year that's somewhat related and sure to cause some degree of angst.

    I submit for your reading pleasure:

    How Google and Its Partners Inflate Measured Conversion Rates and Increase Advertisers' Costs

    Enjoy.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  19. #19
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    As a side bar -

    Our network has had a very positive relationship with Ben Edelman for some time. He is an extremely competent individual and diligent to no end. When it comes to this kind of thing I consider him to be as close to an expert as can exist in this space.



    c3

  20. #20
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Ben is a member here on ABW, although he hasn't posted in a while. Performing a search, it appears that his last post was in May and alluded to the article that I linked to above. Perhaps his vanity filters will alarm him that we're discussing his article and he'll come and make a comment.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  21. #21
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    I love Ben Edelman and everything he stands for.

    I had some direct dealings with him a couple of years ago... he was courteous enough to answer some questions I had submitted, and also stepped into a public forum when I asked for his feedback.

    Typosquatting is not a legitimate business model (in my opinion)

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