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Tales from My Location Bar

I am usually surprised when something I type in the location bar (the thingy with http://) doesn’t take me quite where I was expecting. These tales demonstrate nothing as nefarious as typosquatting or phishing, but I found them interesting nevertheless. Maybe I should enter one in the Bulwer-Lytton contest. “It was a dark and stormy night as I sat hunched over the keyboard, lights flickering, the UPS beeping irritably...”

I guess at URLs all the time, especially when I’m not using my own computer. I wanted to read Robert Scoble’s blog recently (in a browser for once instead of RSS) and, knowing that he had migrated to WordPress not too long ago, I typed scoble.wordpress.com. Surprise! That address belongs to someone known as Maxi-Scoble who says, “I am not Robert Scoble, I was surprised as you when this name was available.” Me, too. Scoble.com and scoble.org aren’t owned by Robert Scoble either, but that’s not as surprising.

Here’s another example. I was reading Guy Kawasaki’s feed and instead of Guy’s usual wit and wisdom found an entry by some, um, guy named Mike, who wrote, “You are subscribed to an outdated Feedburner feed that Guy allowed to lapse... By allowing your Feedburner feed to get deleted, you’ve opened your subscribers up to having somebody else (like me) to come along, create a feed by the same name in Feedburner, and capture the eyeballs of your subscribers.” Mike had no malicious intent; he only wished to highlight a problem with Feedburner. Interesting lesson.

Another example I happened upon might barely fall under the category of typosquatting, where the change in URL is not a typo, but the substitution of a different top-level domain. Mypyramid.gov is a USDA site that introduced the new food pyramid last year. Mypyramid.org is a satirical replica of the government site targeting agribusiness. That’s fine with me. At least they’re not trying to cash in on the domain name.

Comments

I assume you're from Philly? I am as well. Thanks for the link dude.

Yeah, URL squatting. Some Scandinavian is holding onto yoko dot wordpress dot com and is doing nothing with it. meh.

Yoko, Sorry about that. For what it’s worth, I like balladofyoko better. It’s more meaningful and memorable than just the name.

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