CitizenHawk Cracks Down on Online Fraud with Launch of TypoSquasher
April 16, 2007; 05:19 AM
With up to 20% of all hand-typed URLs being misspelled, a large market has emerged for "typo" domain names that exploit and monetize accidental traffic at the brand holder's expense. This practice, known as typosquatting, is estimated to cost brand holders millions of dollars each year in lost revenues and affiliate fraud. Because brand holders have had few tools to help them combat typosquatters, the problem has now escalated to staggering proportions. CitizenHawk has uncovered over 10,000 typo domains on the Internet Retailer Top 50 online retail brands alone. For example, there are currently more than 400 fraudulent domains squatting on versions of Disney brands and over 600 domains squatting on misspellings of Craigslist.org.
"Popular brands are under siege by typosquatters," said Graham MacRobie, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of CitizenHawk. "Online trademark infringement has become a very complex and pervasive problem, and there are now many different ways people can exploit a company's brand: from pay-per-click advertising on a typo domain, to affiliate fraud and click fraud, to phishing. It is impossible to keep ahead of these people unless you're armed with the right information. We developed TypoSquasher to empower trademark holders to protect their valuable assets from illegal exploitation."
An on-demand, Web-based solution, TypoSquasher crawls the Web to search for possible misspellings of domain names, identifies instances of trademark infringement, pinpoints how these sites are being monetized, sends notices of fraudulent activity to domain owners, interrupts the flow of money being paid to trademark infringers, and automates legal action to get fraudulent sites stopped for good. Unlike rudimentary domain watch services that provide a simple list of names, TypoSquasher provides all of the information required to determine whether a site may be an infringement in one intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard - including such information as who owns the domain name and how they are monetizing it, as well as screenshots of the infringing sites. Brand holders can also outsource the entire process to CitizenHawk as part of the company's premium service.
Key product features include:
- Powerful discovery tools: TypoSquasher searches and consolidates
domains that are squatting on rightful trademark owner's domain, and
collects and archives screenshots of infringing sites
TypoSquasher is fast and easy to implement and requires no training to use. Pricing starts at $995 per month for the basic service.
Solving a Major Problem for E-Retailers
E-retailers invest significant time, effort and money building their brands and driving customers to their sites. But with just one errant keystroke, these valuable customers can be redirected to sites full of advertisements, pop-up ads, viruses or worse. In some cases, e-retailers may even be paying for keyword clicks on the very sites that may be trying to hijack their brand.
CitizenHawk customer Overstock.com, Inc. is an online "closeout" retailer offering discount, brand-name merchandise. Overstock.com's affiliate program and legal team are using TypoSquasher to help maintain the company's trademark rights and monitor their affiliate programs for potential fraud.
"Using TypoSquasher, we've already identified and removed affiliates from our program who were infringing on derivations of our brand URLs," said Jake Bailey, affiliate program manager at Overstock.com. "Before utilizing this service, we had to find all the infringements on our own. TypoSquasher is the only solution that allows us to discover and deal with our 'fat finger URLs' in one place."
"CitizenHawk is the first company to provide a comprehensive solution to combat typosquatters, and the market reception to our technology has been overwhelmingly positive," said Ari Master, co-founder and chief operating officer of CitizenHawk. "We look forward to helping more companies take back their brands, recover lost revenue, and restore their corporate integrity."
For an immediate, free estimate of how many typosquatters are on any domain, please visit www.citizenhawk.com.
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