–Dan Kelly, Attorney
Last week, I went to the Internet to look up some information. I opened the browser and hastily typed “wkipedia.com” in the address bar and was met with this page:
I stared at it for several seconds, during many of which I seriously thought that Wikipedia had updated its home landing page and puzzle-globe design. The Google and Ebay search bars eventually convinced me that I was in the wrong place, and after staring at the banner for several more seconds, I realized that I had directly navigated not to wikipedia.com (which lands at wikipedia.org), but instead to “wkipedia.com,” just like I typed, omitting the first “i.”
Typical typosquatters use pay-per-click pages (examples here) to monetize their typo domain names, which is bad enough. The Wkipedia.com typosquatter is using a look-alike of a registered trademark that, at least for me, creates confusion, which elevates the issue. It is no longer “mere” typosquatting, but this may very well be flat out trademark infringement.
Typosquatting profits from traffic, and it does not discriminate as to whether the traffic is generated from a domain held by a for-profit company or one held by a not-for-profit company. The difference in battling the beast is that a for-profit company often has a larger budget to combat the problem. Unless or until better tools are developed to battle typosquatting on the back end, the best defense remains a good offense, and all the more for non-profits. If you are planning to start a non-profit with a heavy web presence, make sure that your budget includes the purchase and holding of as many typographical variants of central domains as are feasible to purchase.
An image of the Wikipedia landing page is below the jump for comparison.