DomainNameWire reports about a very interesting patent filled by Frank Schilling with the help of domain attorney John Berryhill:
On April 24, 2006, domain name portfolio owner Frank Schilling filed a patent application for “Generic top-level domain re-routing system” with the help of attorney John Berryhill. This patent, if granted, could end up being very important to the domain name industry.
Patent application 20060265516 describes a system for redirecting typos of domain names, such as a typo of the .com portion or the actual name:
…Because mis-typed TLDs in Internet domain names will not resolve to a valid address, valuable web site visitors and e-mail messages are lost. Additionally, mis-typed TLDs are not present in network root services to respond to queries for non-existent TLD’s. Hence, it is desirable to provide an address resolution mechanism to reduce root server address resolution traffic and to provide increased user convenience. According to one embodiment of the invention, the root zone file is augmented to include DNS records corresponding to common mis-typed versions of the correctly-typed TLDs contained in the root zone. The DNS data for each mis-typed TLD is configured to be identical with the DNS data for the corresponding correctly-typed TLD. When a query is received for an mis-typed TLD, the root server will respond by providing the IP address for the intended correctly typed TLD. As a result, the resolution process will then be referred to the intended name server for the intended TLD, and subsequent queries to the root server will be reduced as a consequence of caching the authoritative response for the mis-typed TLD. In alternative embodiments, supplemental DNS data for mis-typed domains may be provided upstream from the root server, in the form of an augmented cache at an intermediate DNS server, or on the user’s computer.
If this sounds familiar, it may be because a number of ISPs and computer manufacturers have systems similar to what the patent describes. These systems, such as those used by Time Warner and Gateway, capture typo traffic and send it to their own pages full of ads (instead of to the intended destination).