Ever Been to Disnayland?

“Typosquatting” — the act of registering domain names that are misspellings of corporate brands — is alive and well on the Web, as researchers at Microsoft Corp. have documented . I’m constantly amazed at how brazen these typosquatters are. Lately I’ve been observing several domains that tDisnayland.comake advantage of misspellings of Disney — you know, the company that gave us Mickey Mouse and “The Lion King,” heard of it? The domains I’ve looked at include Disnayland.com, Dissney.com and Disneny.com. Walt Disney Co. is preparing a response to a general inquiry I’ve made for my book. In the meantime, I did some research on Disnayland.com, a screenshot of which I’ve posted. When I clicked on the ads shown on this page, it became clear that the ads were placed through Yahoo Inc.’s search-advertising network, formerly known as Overture. The system works like this: Advertisers bid on keywords at Yahoo, and Yahoo distributes the keyword-based ads on thousands of sites that participate in its network. Yahoo shares the ad revenue with the partner sites.
A Yahoo spokeswoman said in an email that Disnayland.com violated the company’s guidelines and that the site would be removed from its ad network within 24 hours. One of Yahoo’s guidelines is that a domain can’t “contain trademarks or typos of trademarks terms.” It’s unclear how long Disnayland.com has used the Yahoo system. The ads on Disnayland.com have been travel-related ads for companies like Expedia, Travelocity and Sheraton.
It’s not clear who owns Disnayland.com. I sent a message to the email address listed on the Whois registration file for the domain, but haven’t heard back. The same contact information, which shows a P.O. Box in Hong Kong, is listed in the registration file for Disneny.com. It’s important to note that Whois information is unreliable; the information provided by registrants is not verified.
I also called Nameview, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based firm that appears to be hosting Disnayland.com and Disneny.com, according to this site. I’m waiting on a response. I’ll be posting more information on this case and other typosquatting issues in the coming weeks and months.

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