Brands that have affiliate programs are huge targets for typo domain affiliate thieves. One of these brands is the travel site Orbitz.com… but read on to discover how the Citizenhawk UDRP process failed them.
It appears that to prevent theft of commissions due to typo domain traffic skimming, they have hired a company, CitizenHawk, that claims to help merchants in this situation – using the Citizenhawk UDRP process.
One of the ways CitizenHawk makes money, is that they in fact become typo domain affiliates for their client – that’s right, they “recover” the typo domains through some legal means and then the client ends up paying them for this privilege. After a period, the domains are handed back to the client, but in the meantime Citizenhawk earns valuable commissions through the exact same method that was used by the illegal typo domain affiliates.
…and some are currently going through affiliate links owned or managed by Citizenhawk. Here’s an example of odbitz.com, which will be keyed in when people hit the nearby “d” instead of the “r” in orbitz.com:
It’s obvious that CitizenHawk is making $ from this typo domain, and that’s their business model – like it or not. They like it for sure – in fact this scheme is probably lucrative enough for them that they patented this whole typo domain “recovery” process.
We feel that in most cases this model just doesn’t make good business sense for the brand owner. For one reason, the domains don’t always succeed in being recovered, as Citizenhawk doesn’t have a 100% record of recovering the domains – see this post as a recent example… and it’s about Orbitz.
So brand owners are not guaranteed that the domains will be recovered by Citizenhawk. In those cases – what happens? Well those domains are ripe for commission theft using the same method that Citizenhawk uses. And unless someone is monitoring the domains, profits could be lost by the brand owner.
In addition, more domains could be registered at any time, further increasing the risk of lost profits until someone catches them AND successfully recovers the domain.
We feel that a better solution is to simply monitor your domains – for a small monthly fee. When you see a domain is being used to steal commissions (see example above re how an affiliate link can monetize the stolen typo traffic), you simply STOP paying the affiliate.
Try Typo Assassin today – for free and with no hassles like the bad trip that Orbitz is having 🙂