One place where Apple dropped the iPhone ball

John Shinal · June 9, 2008 · Short URL:

By now, everyone knows that Apple scored a huge success with the first version of its iPhone, with close to six million sold already.

The world is now waiting breathlessly for the next version, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to unveil at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

We'll have more coverage of that later today.

As for the first iPhone, there was one area of the product's launch where Apple failed to take care of business -- the company failed to register the domain names of likely misspellings of iPhone.

These common misspellings, things like or, are a gold mine for cybersquatters, people who register these pages, put ads on them, then profit when people mistakenly click.

Soon after the original iPhone was announced, 20,000 such domain names were registered, according to Graham MacRobie, CEO of Citizen Hawk, whose company helps businesses get back their domain names.

While most of those won't generate much revenue, a few will make money. Those that do are most likely done by professional cybersquatters who are willing to risk a $100,000 fine because they know they can make that up and more in ads.

Apple could have registered them up front, which would have been much less expensive than doing it after it's happened, says MacRobie, whose company makes software that can figure out which sites are likely to generate the most revenue for cybersquatters.

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