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Random Internet Search Engines

Just a random question... often when you type an internet address incorrectly, you get to some fake "search engine" site, and they have a bunch of links you can click on.  Usually the links go to some promotional offers.  I assume the owners put up these fake sites to get the kickbacks from directing users.  Is that all there is to it?  It doesn't seem like you would make a whole lot of money.  You have to register a whole bunch of domain names, and that costs money, and you have to pay for hosting, and also constantly update your list of sites that will pay you for redirecting users.  Has anyone known anybody who runs one of these?

Do legitimate companies care that they're paying people with such sites?  If they found out what the sites are really there for would they stop paying them?  Is there a name for these sites?

Monday, June 30, 2003

hi Andy,

the basic idea as I understand it is that these domains are basically owned by companies who make their money by selling the domains on.
ie, companies have registered these domains and are hoping that you or I will want one of them badly enough to buy it off them.

Until that happens they put these stupid searching thingies on them :)

Monday, June 30, 2003

Two of my expired domains have been bought by those people. Within two days of expiration, those "search" pages were up on them.

Troy King
Monday, June 30, 2003

Some extremist (IMO) anti-abortion groups have been registering domains that sound like govenment agencies, then posting some fairly graphic photos.  It happened to my state and the sites are still up.

By the way, there's a law against it:

But it's sometimes difficult to prove.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Yeah, they depend on clickthrough traffic from your old site... any penny they can make from you is, well, a penny that they've made from you.
Monday, June 30, 2003

Hm, well if they buy old domains, then I would guess it is because they want to exploit the old traffic, rather than sell the domains.  But I'm sure they would sell the domain too to make a profit.

I just wouldn't think it would be worth the time.  That is, unless suddenly let go of their domain.  But apparently it is.

I guess I stumble across one every few days or so by accident, but I've never clicked on any of the links.  Less experienced people like my dad probably would.

How much money can you get for a clickthrough to a site?  Just curious.  Do most sites publish the rates?

Monday, June 30, 2003

Well, the smart guys go after the biggest domains, or have some mechanism in place like an ISP would to easily reclaim a domain once someone forgot to pay a bill.

Ads pay pennies per view, but if you fill the page with ads and popups, over the course if a few thousand clicks a day, it can add up. Click-throughs pay a little more.

Monday, June 30, 2003

The original message is basically correct

If you bulk buy domains, I believe that you can get them cheap, much cheaper than the prices for registering a single domain even at a cheapo registrar.

Hosting is probably negligable, if they have many domains as they don't actually have to rent hosting per domain like you would if you just had cheap shared hosting.  Even a reseller account at most hosts allows you to host many domains for little or no cost per additional domain.

Maintenance is also probably only a small cost, as they have probably the same page on all the sites.  As many of the links may direct to pay per click search engines (where advertisers pay for listings and maintain them), there owner of these sites probably doesn't have much to do on a day to day basis, except occassionally updating a single HTML page once in a while.

I read an article about some guy who makes a bundle each month on the net using this technique (I can't remember the exact amount but it was probably 5 - or may be 4 - figures US $).

Except for the busiest domains, bandwidth is probably a trivial cost too. 

So even it costs a few $ per year to run each domain (I'd be surprised if it costs very much at all), even if they only a few pennies per click thru, they can run the site at a profit even if it gets only a small amount of traffic. I guess they would probably get more traffic if it's a common typo, a popular domain, one well listed in Yahoo/DMOZ/google/etc, etc.  Of course if the domain doesn't get enough traffic, they lose out on that particular one (I expect they can probably track it so as not to renew unprofitable domains).

I expect in some cases the new owners are probably happy to sell some of their domains too (possibly back to the original owner), especially if their new domain is unprofitable as an advertising venue (because it gets no traffic)

S. Tanna
Monday, June 30, 2003

I have a friend who knows this guy - they were both competing for a domain on ebay. He said the guy makes around $8,000 a... I forget if it was a month or a week, buying expired/expiring domains. I'm sure there's more to it than what we're talking about in this thread, but apparently it can be done.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Yeah, pretty interesting.  I wonder how they choose the names.  Yahoo seems to have bought up a lot of names around theirs:



but some guy has


but some guy has

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

People who register names that are typos of trademarks of big companies, sometimes get pursued by lawyers and/or under UDRP. The argument tends to be they are basically "passing off", although of course circumstances can vary.

I personally know of case exactly like this (won't mention the domain or search engine, but the domain basically had 2 letters transposed). The guy owning the typo basically gave in pretty quickly when the facts of the situation became apparent to him (and it wasn't in this case some big company bullying/reverse-hijacking - everybody I heard comment, including me, thought his arguments for why he had a legit interest in the domain, weren't remotely convincing).

Regarding getting a lost domain back - google for UDRP - it may be possible in some cases with a fight (although it might be cheaper just to buy it back).  You need to read up on past cases, the criteria used in UDRP, get advice, etc...  I think that the key thing to win back a domain is to get evidence for all the criteria that you are the "rightful" owner.

S. Tanna
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

> He said the guy makes around $8,000 a... I forget if it was a month or a week, buying expired/expiring domains

I also know several people who know do things along these lines (not necessarily the expired domain thing exactly). 

Another guy I know, speculatively buys lots of unregistered domains (which I guess could include expired ones, probably by accident - but AFAIK he steers away from domains which could be disputed) - he has literally thousands.  Most of which never get sold... however once in a while he sells one at huge mark up. There's of course no guarantee that he'll be registering domains which he can actually sell later - it's a matter of skill and luck.  I think he made a lot of money in the dot com era - I'm not sure if he's making much/any now.

S. Tanna
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

I guess with the possibility of any number of new top level domains arriving in future the price of domain real-estate could be set to fall. A bit like land prices of you streeeeched the country maybe??
Wednesday, July 2, 2003

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