John Zuccarini is something of legend in cybersquatting history. And now he’s in the news again:
The Federal Trade Commission has fined a “typosquatter” who served adult advertisements on misspelled domains such as BobtheBiulder.com and Teltubbies.com a second time — this time for advertising mainstream products instead of adult.
John Zuccarini has agreed to give up $164,000 in revenue from typosquatting, registering domains that are misspellings of legitimate brands, he is alleged to have received, the FTC said Tuesday.
He was in the news quite a lot in the Old Days(tm), when he was snapping up domains and redirecting them to porn sites, and getting sued right, left, and center. Then he disappeared for a while. Apparently it was too difficult to run his business effectively while in prison for typosquatting and child pornography charges. (Typosquatting is illegal, did you know that?)
But you know, $164k is a drop in the bucket to him:
Although Zuccarini forfeited $164,000 in his recent settlement, in the 2003 criminal complaint the U.S. Justice Department said that he had been making as much as $1 million per year from his adult-oriented activities.
It raises some interesting questions of whether there should be “public spaces” on the internet that no one can own, and the ethics of registering domains merely to collect money from ad clickthroughs.
Once upon a time, Catchword had registered zuccarini.info. But I think we let it lapse. I wonder if it’s still available…we could put up some clickthrough ads…