If you don’t own or plan to ever own a domain, product, company, or anything else that you could say is a brand, then this article isn’t for you.
Otherwise, read on as there’s some seriously sneaky shenanigans going on related to your brand’s traffic, and it’s just getting worse.
And I have just 1 question to ask you as a survey favor (link at end).
Lately I’ve noticed that anyone with a recognizable brand is at risk from what I call “brand leeches”.
You see, as Google continues to make it tougher for affiliates to get traffic, many resort to grey and often black hat methods to send you clicks, and hopefully commission-generating sales.
Over the last few years I’ve seen it all, from cookie stuffing to trademark bidding on PPC campaigns, and even just innocent “coupon” sites that turn out to have expired, fake, or no coupons at all.
But there’s one sneaky trick that outdoes them all.
This trick is so bad that there’s even a law against it, and big brands are starting to wake up
and scramble high priced teams of lawyers to try stop it.
It’s not talked about, but it’s getting more popular as other techniques get exposed or get too expensive to manage.
This scheme costs very little in effort and investment. In fact it’s so ridiculously cheap that I’ve seen affiliates from China (no offense to my Chinese friends!) repeat this trick 10,000 times with 100’s of brands.
Here’s the scheme.
It’s so easy I can write it out in this email and you’ll probably “get it”. But it’s not easy to see how evil this is for your brand.
Most people feel that this scheme is good for business. I’ll prove them wrong.
Here’s what these leeches do:
Step 1 – Take a look at your site. Sign up for your affiliate program, or maybe clone your site completely.
Step 2 – Buy a $9 domain that is a common miss-spelling of your domain/brand/name/whatever
Step 3 – Redirect their domain to either a) your site through their affiliate link or b) to their knockoff site
Step 4 – Sit back and make commissions or sell counterfeit copies of your product, every time a “high converting, brand searching” customer miss-types your brand and keys in the typo domain instead
Step 5 – Wait a year, renew the domains that made > $9 in the last year
Now if you’re like most marketers I’ve talked to, you’re probably thinking “Well shucks Peter, I really like this affiliate because they’re sending me more business”.
You see, imagine if that typo domain didn’t exist.
99% of the serious customers – and these are serious because they’re trying to direct navigate to YOUR brand – would merely re-type the domain and get it right the second time.
But not anymore. Instead they go through an affiliate link and you now have to pay the slime-bucket affiliate some commission for doing nothing but sitting around counting the checks rolling in.
Does this sound scary to you?
I’ve seen this happen to merchants and once one of these typo domain leeches gets on your brand, it’s very hard to get rid of them.
I have some ideas on solutions, but would be interested in what you think?
After reading all this, tell me your biggest question about typo domain affiliates, and I’ll read your responses and get back to you.
So please answer this one question here:
Pls answer it – it takes just a few seconds and is much appreciated.