Published July 27, 2011
The author of a browser add-on* used to automatically correct URL's incorrectly typed into a browser's address bar has published some interesting statistics on the most commonly typed domains.
Christopher Finke has released an analysis based on six months of data and 7.5 million inputs collected from users of his plug-in that shows the most common domain name typed into a browser address bar is facebook.com - and by quite a margin.
Other domain names most often typed are google.com, youtube.com, gmail.com, twitter.com, mail.google.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, amazon.com and reddit.com respectively. Mr. Finke says 49.5% of domains that are typed are done so with a leading "www."
In his analysis, a Facebook "typosquatter" is noted as benefiting from traffic generated by misspellings of the social network's domain name. Typosquatting involves registering domain names that are misspellings of a brand or business with view to serving advertising to wayward visitors; or sometimes darker purposes such as gathering sensitive details or installing malware on the system of the unfortunate person making the typing error.
For domain registrants, while registering every possible misspelling of a domain name to avoid such a scenario would usually be incredibly expensive and time consuming; it can be beneficial to register common misspellings in order to help ensure some wayward visitors reach their destination and other parties are unable to profit from that traffic. This applies more to generic domain name extensions such as .com, .net and .org rather than .com.au domains names as the criteria for registering .au names is quite stringent and therefore typosquatting is less likely to occur.
*URL Fixer is an extension for Mozilla Firefox that corrects typing errors in URLs that you enter in the address bar. In addition to the inbuilt list, the application allows you to add your own set of custom corrections. URL Fixer has been downloaded over a million times and is used daily by over 50,000 people. The free add-on can be downloaded here.
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