nike or haik or naik?If you’re starting a brand, check around the “sidestreets” of the domain first.

Today I read a great post by domain expert Morgan Linton, where he talked about selecting a brand name and how the domain name availability is critical to this process. In the post, he points out that with the .com space so popular it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive for a new brand to get a nice short generic .com.

But there’s one more thing to add to your list of requirements for the domain you choose: make sure that there are no typo domains for it – especially if you ever plan to have an affiliate program.

Why? Because many of those typo domains are potential “time bombs” waiting to explode into illegal commissions that you will have to pay out, once you get infected with the “typo domain affiliate virus”.

Of course, no affiliate programs are immune to this problem - the trick is to know who’s cheating you so that you simply don’t have to pay them.

In Morgan’s post, he gives some recent examples of domains that are in the news today over on Techcrunch. If you’re considering a brand like any of these, let’s take a look at how vulnerable you’d be to typo domain affiliates:

We ran our typo domain scanner on them all, and here is how many typo domains we found (.com only):

InternMatch.com (6 typo domains including wwwinternetmatch.com)

ChowNow.com (7 typo domains)

ShopKick.com (11 typo domains including shop-kick.com which hopefully they own)

Thumb.it (24 for thumb.com and 13 for thumbit.com)

Sharethrough.com (just 1 but it looks a bit suspicious: sharethough.com)

LeapMotion.com (17 typo domains)

Ayasdi.com (all clear!)

Jongla.com (20)

LoveFilm.com (45)

Gaana.com (46)

Tred.com (58 – but it’s a 4 character domain so what do you expect :)   )

Now, while some of the typo domains we found were legit different spellings of other companies, it’s pretty clear that most brands will have this issue so it’s better to weed out the more riskier domains before you finalize your decision.

Clearly, short domain names are risky, as many already have several typo domains out there. And as PPC landing page revenues drop in EPC we’re all going to experience the threat of old school cybersquatting moving to higher payout models such as typo domain affiliate marketing.

If you get up to 6 characters or so and make it really weird – like ayasdi, then you have less risk. However, make sure that the domains which sound phonetically similar to yours are also checked. In this case check “ayazdi”, “ayasti”, and “ayasdee” :)

If you are considering a new domain name for your brand, get a free TypoAssassin account today and see what our scanner can reveal for you.