Two typosquatters have been fined £100,000 ($156,000) by the UK premium rate phone services regulator.
PhonepayPlus said today that the owners of the typos wikapedia.com and twtter.com, both Dutch companies, were issued the fines for violating its Code of Practice.
R&D Media Europe and Unavalley use the now depressingly commonplace practice of tricking visitors with the promise of iPad prizes into signing up for bogus SMS services at ridiculous fees.
They’ve both been ordered to refund disgruntled customers’ fees.
PhonepayPlus has no powers to take away domain names, of course, so both typos are still active, albeit not no longer mimicking the Wikipedia or Twitter look-and-feel.
The regulator did however issue clear guidance that typosquatting is against its rules, stating:
This guidance reminds PRS [premium rate service] providers that they are responsible for all their digital promotions and, if they use marketing firms that mislead consumers through typosquatting, they will be in breach of the Code of Practice.
A Facebook attorney said last year that typos of high-traffic sites, such as facebok.com, could expect to get 250 million visits a year.