Google may be earning an alleged $500 million a year via companies and individuals who register deceptive website addresses.
The claim centres on a controversial scheme known as “typosquatting”, the practice of registering a misspelled variant of a popular web domain. For example, a typosquatter might register “newscientsist.com” in the hope of getting visits from people who meant to type “newscientist.com”.
If that mistake is made frequently enough, the owner of newscientsist.com can profit by placing ads on their page. They could, in particular, use Google’s advertising network which automatically assigns ads to a page based on its content, or using keywords provided by the page’s owner.