Over the bank holiday 13m of us were stuck to our TV screens for the Bank holiday’s biggest treat – the two semi finals of Britain’s Got Talent. And then last weekend ITV took an even bigger chunk of the viewing audience, and our collective consciousness, for the grand final. But whilst that was going on, some enterprising cyber squatting individuals were snapping up the domain names of all but a handful of the performers involved.
As we’ve spoken about before, cyber squatting is when someone registers a domain name which is the same or similar to that of another individual, brand or company, in the hope of profiting from traffic that a website on that domain might generate.
We’ve recently seen this happen in the case of Swine Flu and domain names.
Both the .com and .co.uk variations of the contestant’s names have been registered as domain names. Those contestants with foresight – all 5 of them – registered web addresses in their name before entering the talent contest.
The owners of these new domains will generate traffic to any website they put on those domain names in the following two ways.
The first is called direct traffic or type in traffic. This is where people type in the name of the person or company they are looking for directly into the address bar, and just add .co.uk or .com onto the end.
The second is when people search for that celebrity on Google. Its much easier to boost up your position in the Search Engine Results page (SERPs) if the keyword that people are using to search with is within your domain name.
And people will end up clicking on those websites that are exact match of the contestant’s domain name when they see it appear in the SERPs.
What is the point in getting traffic onto these sites? The short answer: money. If the cyber squatters fill these pages with relevant adverts, then those adverts are going to get a lot of eye balls, and lots of people clicking on them as a consequence.
In a further development, many acts have also had Twitter accounts opened in their names. This is a hint at the power of Twitter. Maybe Twitter account names will in the future be as valuable as domain names, since users will search for those people in Twitter and then ‘follow’ them, even though they may have nothing to do with the actual celebrity.
What’s the moral of this one? Well if you haven’t done so already, maybe its time to register your own name as a domain name. And whilst you’re at it then why not do the same with Twitter. You never know – Simon Cowell might be waiting just around the corner…