Now everyone is getting in on the act…
Since large scale domain tasting has largely been stopped, the way is clear for internet service providers to intercept queries seeking non-existent, non-registered domain names, which largely consists of users who have made typographical errors, and to engage in mass “virtual typosquatting”.
Comcast is the latest entrant in this field.
Queries to non-existent domain names by at least some Comcast subscribers (myself included) are not provided with an error message.
Instead, such users are re-directed to a paid advertising and self-advertising page run by Comcast itself.
To get an idea of how Comcast is populating the advertising page, I have captured an example of what happens if a Comcast user tries to visit verrizzzonwireless.com. The resulting web page is posted at:
The page provides a central panel “powered by Yahoo! search”, which provides a top portion of paid ads (notably for non-Verizon wireless products).
Additionally, Comcast advertises its own VOIP telephone service at the right of the page under “Upgrade Your Services”, with the link labeled “Talk as long as you want nationwide for one low price”. There is no clear indication that these “Services” are Comcast, not Verizon, services.
Finally, when a Comcast customer types in verrizzzonwireless.com, then Comcast helpfully provides links to “Cingular” and “T-Mobile”, as noted at the left of the webpage.
If you have a Comcast connection, you might consider running some typos of your clients’ marks through them, now that actually registering typo domain names is for pikers.
Amazing. Or maybe not. After all, it just shows, once again, that changing rules and fine-tuning systems of rules or “regimes” has very little welfare effect on rent-seeking, though it can affect the allocation of rent. In other words, it can determine, in the short run, who’s first at the trough to profit off value built by other people — value of which, on the other side of the coin, they’re probably unreasonably expecting to be the sole beneficiaries.
Don’t ask me how it should go. All we’re doing is moving the lump under the rug across the living room.
Originally posted 2011-10-24 22:45:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter