The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Musuem of Hoaxes
Status: Typosquatter
My wife just discovered this. If you misspell museumofhoaxes.com by switching he 'e' and the 'u' in museum (a very easy mistake to make), you'll arrive at The Musuem of Hoaxes, which contains links to info about museums. It's obviously a site created by a spammer hoping to profit off of people who are trying to get to the Museum of Hoaxes, but who aren't great spellers. I probably shouldn't link to this alternative version of the Museum (I'm only sending more traffic to the spammer), but I'm kind of flattered that someone thought it was worth their time to create this. According to Larry Adams, author of Fraud In Other Words, this kind of practice (registering misspelled domain names) is called typosquatting:

Typosquatting is the intentional use of misspelled domain names and meta tags to misdirect Internet traffic or revenue from one Web site to another. It is based on the probability that a certain number of Internet users will mistype the URL or name of a Web site. Typically, a typosquatter registers several possible input errors for a Web site of a famous company, brand name or celebrity known for its high traffic. The typosquatter monitors the bogus sites to see how many clicks a day each of their "typo" domain names receives, and uses the information to sell advertising for the sites that receive a high volume of accidental traffic. Advertising revenue might come from selling ads to the original site's competitors or by providing redirect pages to gambling and porn sites.
Con ArtistsWebsites
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 17, 2006
I'm afraid it's not that special

I think these spammers get lists of new domains and open similar ones.
My own domain got very few hits in the year it existed for, and there was at least 1 spam version of that that I knew about.

Also our business website has a couple of spam alternatives.

You can always check Alexa.com to see how popular you are smile
Posted by Sharruma  in  capable of finishing a coherent  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  12:48 PM
Darn! And I thought I was so special because I had my very own typosquatter. tongue wink

But at least I know the typosquatter didn't find my site via a list of new domain names. Here's the registration info I could find for musuemofhoaxes.com:

Created: 2005-08-26
Updated: 2005-09-28
Expires: 2006-08-26

Whereas I think I first registered museumofhoaxes.com back in 2000.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  01:08 PM
A few years ago I saw an ad on TV that made me want to visit the Australian government tourism website which they gave as "www.australia.com". But when I typed in the URL I mispelled it with an extra "i" (austrailia.com). That turned out to be a porn site. Since this happened at work I had to quickly switch to something else which wasn't easy since a lot of pop-up porn ads kept appearing. I just tried it again today and found that this misspelled URL now goes to a commercially sponsored Australian tourist site.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  01:37 PM
I've actually ended up at that site by mistake twice when trying to get here. I mistype "museum" quite a bit, which is weird because I DO know how it's spelled.

There is a butterfly conservatory here that has a similar problem, except it's not a case of a typo, it's a .com versus .ca (canada) issue. The conservatory uses .com, even though it's a Canadian site, but someone registered the .ca one with the same name. Subsequently, Canadians looking for info on the conservatory innocently assume it ends in .ca and instead find themselves on a site promoting "the butterfly man" who doesn't appear to be affiliated with the conservatory even though he lives in the same town. He also claims to own the trademark to their name, and has done some exhibits in a competitor to the conservatory.

I wonder who really owns the name, haven't heard anything about any kind of lawsuit.
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  02:01 PM
URL's can be tricky indeed and land you on places you weren't looking for. Not a case of typo-squatting, but a surprise for he unweary nevertheless, is when you are trying to get to the website of the Dutch Archaological Service, the Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek (ROB). Naturally, you try http://www.rob.nl ... which then lands you on some obscure gay-porn site...oops!
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  02:09 PM
Several times I've typed in ".com" when I should have entered ".org" or ".gov", and sometimes that does indeed lead to a bit of embarrassment (especially when you're using a government-owned computer on which the sites you visit are monitored). I always knew that the United States Geological Survey mapped some interesting topographical features, but I hadn't realised that all those features were guaranteed to be barely legal and shaved. . .
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  03:45 PM
The most flagrant example of this I've run across personally has to do with immigration forms and procedures. If you put something like "Immigration" or "Immigration and Naturalization Service" (The old name of what is now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) into a search engine, the first dozen or so hits you get will be imposter sites pretending to be the real USCIS (the government agency in charge of immigration and naturalization). These are designed to steer you to their legal "services" of dubious value, and they also sell usually out-of-date versions of official immigration forms, which the government will reject if you submit them because they are not the current versions. You can get the latest versions of the forms for free, and reasonably accurate information, from the real USCIS web site, which by the way is http://www.uscis.gov
Posted by Big Gary in Uncertain, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  04:59 PM
Many Departments of the U.S. Federal government offer their employees online access to their pay stub online, where the employees can also update personal information, address and such. The web page http://www.employeeexpress.gov required that employees use their social security number as their user name. So you can imagine the chaos when the web site http://www.employeeexpress.com appeared.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  05:28 PM
Still, you gotta admit, running a typosquat on a hoax website.... that's pretty ballsy. Granted, it's not a phishing scam, or other nastiness, but it's still pretty impressive..

Of course, the worst part is that when the domain name expires, those groups that snatch up expired domaine names will be waiting... It may well be a porn site in a few months.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Mon Apr 17, 2006  at  10:29 PM
If you have the bucks and want to force that squatter to turn the site over to you, the National Arbitration Forum is one of the groups that can handle your cybersquatter case pursuant to the ICANN rules. Their website has model forms and the whole process is done via written pleadings. It's pretty easy--I did one last year. The downside is that it takes $1300. If you can find more information about the entity that created the site, some of them will stop squatting and release the site name to you if you make a stink, without requiring the arbitration.

http://www.arbforum.com/domains/UDRP/index.asp
Posted by PollyG  on  Tue Apr 18, 2006  at  11:12 AM
My friends had a film site (a good .com that they used in marketing) for a year and when the year was up, the company they were hosting with sold it to people like that who put up a fake website and wanted $250 for the domain back. They tried a .net, but it just wasn't the same. They ended up ditching the whole site and lost a year's worth of work. Anyway, I told them to come to my domain host and they have had nothing but good experiences since then. The website is http://GoldStarDomainNames.com, and they notify you way in advance of when a domain expires or is up for renewal.
Posted by anemene  on  Mon Feb 25, 2008  at  06:33 AM
Really what an interesting topic! Typosquatting is commonly seen now days. I personally faced this typosquatting.
Posted by domain  in  California  on  Sun Oct 12, 2008  at  10:16 AM
Haha typosquattering is really common these days.. ANd they are frustrating.. We should have a better law system for these type of issues..

-Kim
Posted by easy weight loss  in  WA  on  Tue Mar 31, 2009  at  04:30 PM
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