Anyone remember the ol’ Site
Finder Service from Verisign? Claiming that it was for the benefit of normal end users, it basically wildcarded *.com and threw up a page full of ads when a domain did not exist.
Now, ads on domains are a very large business. We won’t go into details here, but estimates are that this industry (PPC ads on a domain) generate roughly 10-15% of all search revenue for Google and Yahoo. That ain’t no chump change.
Recently, Cameroon(the country) followed suit. There are people, who instead of typing Google.com, accidentally type in Google.cm. Just a few weeks ago, they would throw out of a ‘cannot find server’ error, and the user would know he made a mistake. Of course, with the new change, the Cameroonian registrar is going to be making a lot of money. They even have a friendly FAQ page explaining that what they are doing is very friendly and helpful.
So the latest one to pull this off is CNet and its com.com domain. Realizing that a lot of people were typing in .com.com (for whatever bizarre reason), they wildcarded that too. the reach literally tripled overnight. Looking at the exact Alexa statistics, it already accounts for 16% of the traffic to that domain (and remember, this is for a larger time period than the wildcard has been active).
I now wait for Oman (.om) to wildcard is extension, and Colombia to expand and allow direct .co domains (and then wildcard that too).
And just for a wrapup, the Overture
numbers for Google and MySpace:
To note: Many inside the ‘domain industry’ consider the overture number to be a rough indictator of how much traffic that domain gets per day. Based on that, you can see that Cameroonian industry gets 1,594,299 visitors a month just from Google.cm and Myspace.cm