The hidden typo: l vs I in domain names

A lower case l looks a lot like an upper case I.

Logo for Informatica has an orange graphical element with two sides

I was a bit confused when I reviewed today’s list of World Intellectual Property Organization UDRP decisions. It appeared that Informatica, a company that recently went public again with a market cap of about $8.5 billion, had won a case for the domain informatica.com. But I knew this couldn’t be true because the company already uses that domain name.

Upon further investigation, it turns out the company won a dispute for Lnformatica .com. When that L is lower case, it looks like a capital I depending on the font: lnformatica .com.

This is a typo that’s not really a typo. I and L are fairly close on the keyboard, but many domain registrants that swap these letters are doing it to trick people visually. It’s more a visual typo than a keystroke typo.

I’ll shamefully admit that I was once duped by a similar typo. I saw the domain lnternational .com on an expired domain list and backordered it. I wasn’t paying attention. I knew something was wrong when I received a notice that I had won the domain for only $69. Apparently, I was the only sucker who didn’t notice that the domain started with an L, not an I.

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