Misspelling words is generally seen as a mistake, but online it is becoming an increasingly popular strategy for domain name buyers.
Initially, buying a misspelled domain name was seen as good practise for established businesses because it can help redirect traffic that could come from common search phrases.
Data from Google, Yahoo and other popular search engines indicate that misspelled words are incredibly common for a wide range of searches.
Google alone has around 10 million misspelled search queries every day. So having a misspelled domain name that redirects to the correctly spelled version – such as amazn.com redirecting to amazon.com – helps get customers to the right place.
But once people realised how common misspelling is, not just for search engines but also for typed-in URLs, the internet saw the rise of cybersquatters and “typosquatters”: people who buy misspelled domain names for popular sites in the hopes of catching some of the traffic.
Typosquatters and cybersquatters often use these misspelled domain names for illegal activity like phising scams, or to try and get the company with the established, correctly-spelled name to pay more money for the misspelled version.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has since outlined strict rules about domain name purchasing and ownership to help reduce the potential damage from squatters. Businesses can also file domain name disputes if a misspelled name is too close to their brand.
But the rise of misspelled domain names has also led to a new trend: startups using misspelling as part of their brand.
These companies are legitimately buying misspelled websites and registering their businesses under the same name. In the process they are solving both SEO issues and problems finding an affordable domain name that is also relevant to their brand.
As a recent analysis from The Next Web explains: “startups have their work cut out for them when it comes to settling on a name that is both memorable and meaningful to their audience.”
“…Somehow, this evolved into a common trend that sees startups all with -ly, -me, or -fy in their names. Dropping vowels are also a thing – and in some ways, that helps with differentiating the company from a regular word and shortens its URL.”
Some examples of popular brands and domain names that misspell words include Flickr.com, Tumblr.com, Digg.com, Scribd.com, Nwplying.com and Qustodian.com.
While this trend may not appeal to everyone, it is clear that there is a strong market for intential misspelling among both established businesses and startups.
In the long run, that means a wider range of possibilities when you are looking for a domain name to fit both your brand and your budget.