Typosquatters are smart, sneaky and have creative ways to prevent an advertiser from catching them steal affiliate commissions.
Below are 4 different methods Typo Affiliates use to generate affiliate commissions from popular advertiser brands.
1. The Simple Redirect
The most basic redirect is a simple domain forward directly to the affiliate link. This is done often and usually is done by Typosquatter newbies. When a redirect is pointing directly from the domain name to the affiliate link it is easy for the advertiser to see the referrer url and they can figure out pretty quickly that the leads are coming from a typo of their brand name. However most advertisers are still very naive to this.
More seasoned typosquatters will build a third party site or mask the referral lead with a second redirect. So they will redirect the misspelled domain to a legitimate looking website they built and then redirect from the website to the affiliate link. This is harder to catch because the advertiser can’t see the referral leads coming from the misspelled domain.
Below is an example of a simple redirect for a misspelled domain of www.truthaboutabs.com. As you can see they are redirecting directly through their Truth About Abs affiliate ClickBank url and making high converting (but illegally stolen) commissions.
2. HTTP Meta Redirect
An HTTP Meta Redirect is another simple way to redirect to an affiliate url however it is much harder to catch using conventional research methods. The redirect is simply done by creating a page with a Meta Redirect tag in the header. This keeps any Trace or Get search of the domain from showing the affiliate url and makes it hard to catch. Meta redirects also keep referral urls from being passed to the affiliate account so that the merchant/advertiser can’t tell where the traffic is coming from.
Here is an example of a simple meta redirect that is added to the header of a typo domain page:
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”2;url=http://www.affiliateurl.com/”>
TypoAssassin has technology to sniff out and catch these meta redirect urls.
3. Frameset and iframe redirects
This is another simple yet hard to find typosquatting method for generating income from typo domaining. Typo domainers place an iframe or frameset in their webpage code that contains the affiliate url. So the squatter will redirect the typo domain to their own site and content or a second redirect page and place a simple iframe code.
Here is an iframe example:
The simple snippet of code above can be placed anywhere in the body of a webpage and it will place a cookie on the users computer so that the affiliate will receive credit for the sale, ripping off the merchant from their hard earned brand name.
Many times the typosquatter will redirect the user to a page that looks like “404 Page Can’t Be Found” but with the iframe in it so that they don’t appear to be using the domain to generate affiliate sales. The user then realizes they went to the wrong page and retypes the correct domain name however they now have the typosquatters affiliate cookie placed on there computer and the typosquatter will receive a commission on any sale.
It is totally hidden.
To make things worse once you click on the typo domain the site places a cookie on your computer that will keep you from redirecting to the advertisers site with any future click which helps the typosquatter to remain undetected. This is a very very sneaky way that some typo domainers try to avoid detection, and some have been doing it for years with a cheap $9 domain name and a bit of code – code that they can use on EVERY domain they set up to rake in these skimmed profits.
They can’t hide from our solution, as we have a way to find even these scenarios.
One of many companies we have detected getting ripped off from this type of fraud is www.aliexpress.com.
Here are two example screenshots of the landing page of www.aliexporess.com a typo domain for Ali Express. You will notice the first time you type in the domain it redirects to the advertisers site with a commission junction affiliate id tag. However the second time it goes to a different landing page to help them keep from being caught.
Typo Domaining is a obviously a bigger issue then most people realize, however there are simple solutions to keep you from getting swindled by a typosquatter. To run a quick and easy check of your domain go to Typo Assassin and type in your domain to discover how your brand is being abused and how you are paying commissions for nothing.