Australian companies are reportedly buying misspelt Internet domain names with the intention of stopping others from gaining profit from their brand names.
Some corporations like Qantas, Westpac and Woolworths have already registered the incorrectly spelt Internet names because some people are terrible typists or cannot spell, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Even if customers mistakenly type quantas.com.au online, they will still get connected to the company's website. If they leave the "s" off the end of Woolworths, they will reach the giant retailer online.
The "domainers" run advertisements for various businesses on the misspelt websites, and when people click on the advertisements, the domainers are paid up to 20 dollars a click by the advertisers, the paper said.
Internet domain-name regulator the Australian Domain Name Administrator has a list of more than 1900 domain names on its List of Prohibited Misspellings, including bigpong.com.au, fightcentre.com.au, kommbank.com.au and wirlpoo.com.au.
The paper quoted Chris Disspain, the regulator's chief executive, as saying that some organisations have registered the misspelling themselves and then directed customers to their websites.
"Some people can't spell 'weather' and most of us aren't particularly good typists. From a marketing point of view, if you are Myer, for example, you may decide there are several ways customers might spell that name, but you want them to end up on your website anyway," he said.
"You might register 'myers' or 'mier'. You would be amazed at the number of people who appear to have nothing else to do than sit around and try to come up with misspellings," Disspain added.