There are many sites that pretend to be a proper site to deceive web traffic to their platforms for obvious reasons. They usually get successful when users type a site’s address incorrectly. Their typing error takes them to another site, which spells similarly, but is entirely different in content and purpose. This is called ‘typosquatting’. It could be done by a company or an individual or a group of individuals. They register domain name which is similar to a popular site, but with a difference in one or two characters or letters in the spellings.
But their success depends on users making a mistake of typing incorrect spellings of a popular site they would like to visit. Two of the sites recently have been fined heavily for the same deception and misleading method. These two sites were pretending to be the online user-generated encyclopedia, Wikipedia and the micro-blogging social networking site, Twitter. These two pretending sites were charged £100,000 ($156,000) each. Their crime was not only to have the similar spellings, ‘Wikapedia’ and ‘Twtter.com’, but also to present look-alike versions of the real sites and their contents. The only difference was in the huge amount of advertisements they had of iPad and MacBook competitions.
The users were told upon entering these sites that they have won a prize, like an iPad or something and they could claim it. All they have to do to acquire their winning is to enter their contact details and answer few questions. They were asked to give their mobile number, after which they would get a PIN number on their mobile phones through which they can enter other competitions. After this, there would begin a series of text messages asking them quizzes and survey questions that were charged to the users themselves at £1.50 for each one sent and the same if they would reply.
This explains why PhonepayPlus is the one that caught these two typosquatting sites. These fines were charged against these two sites by PhonepayPlus, which is a UK body regulating premium rate telephone services (PRS). One would expect an internet regulating body to do so, but it was not the case, as the watchdog was PhonepayPlus. According to The Next Web, around 80% of mistyped URLs go to typosquatting sites. Most of these sites have been shut down for misleading internet users and costing them money at times.