Here is the thing about typosquatting, if people make a mistake enough times, the typosquatter could profit thanks to ads placed on their page. How many times have you accidentally typed a domain name that is a letter off of the original? Or what about a flat-out typo? You are sent to a page that looks like a search page, except that it has sponsored ads that will make the site money if you follow the link. What is interesting is that Google may also be profiting from this.
Tyler Moore and Benjamin Edelman from Harvard estimated that Google has sponsored ads on nearly 60% of typosquatters' sites. Combine this with the fact that as many as 68 million people hit a typosquatter site per day and Google could earn $497 million per year from typo domains, according to the duo's research.
Is this legal? Yes. Google told NewScientist that it will remove ads from typosquatter sites if the owners of the trademarked site complain. It should be noted that Edelman is co-counsel on a lawsuit from a firm that is seeking damages from Google because its advertisements were on a typo domain that targeted a claimant's website.
What do you think -- is this practice ethical? Does this practice raise some interesting moral questions? For what it is worth, Edelman tells NewScientist that he is "not doing it for the money ... I'm doing it because it is important." I bet Google and the typosquatters may argue the point.