Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Error Hijacking. Code Orange

As reported by The Register, Orange Broadband in the UK is experimenting with contextual ad serving for unresolved domains.

The reason?

The register reports "An Orange spokesman said the move had been made "in order to deliver a better experience to our customers"".

As I pointed out in my post "Google Hijacking Unresolved Domains & 404 Error Pages?" this is a sticky situation. Mistyped domains represent a search for a specific brand (all be it a misspelled search) and if an ISP inserts contextual advertising a.) they're profiting by listing ads searched under someone else's trademark and b.) in many cases the original trademark owner may be paying for the traffic from that mistyped domain if they're advertising on the contextual ad network used to serve the ad.

Making trademark owners pay for a mistyped domain or allowing competitors to advertise on someone else's trademark doesn't seem right to me. I understand the drive to offer a better user experience, but perhaps suggested corrections rather than suggested ads would be a better way to go about this.

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