Ever make a spelling mistake while hunting up a website -- and then land
someplace you didn't mean to go? Ever absorbed any of the information you found
on that inadvertently-arrived-at site? Better yet, ever clicked on anything on
Well, you're not the first. Many e-companies are profiting from people's poor
typing skills and bad orthographic habits. The potential for straying off the
beaten path of the internet is quite large, given that you need to accurately
type a sequence of usually over ten characters in order to arrive safely at your
desired destination (indeed, for some people, such accuracy proves next to
Some of these misspelled sites are blatantly subversive, in that they're
(ahem) pornographic. Type in www.hotmale.com, and see where that gets you.
But hotmale.com isn't really a legitimate misspelling of hotmail.com. There are
other, wackier domain names you'd never think of -- but might end up punching
into your keyboard by mistake.
If you're trying to find Yahoo! and hit "g" instead of "h," you'll get to a
very, very vague page that tells you to "Click here to start your search." If
you still fondly believe you're under the protective wings of the big Y, you'll
"click here" and land on the home page of www.goto.com. This is a search engine that touts
itself as the best new alternative to search engines.
If their search strategies are as wily as their domain-name tactics, they
probably are among the best. Because they're not just plagiarizing Yahoo!'s
name. If you misspell infoseek.com, replacing the "s" with a "d," you'll get to
publicadvertising.com, a search engine that reverts back to goto.com. Sound
hopelessly convoluted and virtually inbred? Welcome to the web, my friends,
where every spelling mistake counts -- as a page hit, that is.