Marketing

Pizza Puzzler

Misspelling a domain name is a common mistake. Most of the time you’ll end up on a page that doesn’t resolve or a pay-per-click page. Sometimes, if the site you’re trying to get to has a strong domain portfolio, you’ll get to your intended destination via a redirect. One outcome that you don’t expect, however, is to end up on the page of a competitor.

Papa John’s primary domain is PapaJohns.com, but adding an extra “P” and typing PappaJohns.com is probably one of the most common typos for users looking to visit the pizza company’s homepage. Imagine the surprise of some users when they inadvertently make the mistake and being redirected, not to the Papa John’s site, but to the homepage of competitor Pizza Hut.

The redirect doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes you’ll end up on a generic PPC site, but when it does happen, the URL reveals the source of the redirect:¬†Sendori.

Pizza Hut Screen Shot

The Oakland-based company calls itself “the only direct navigation company that connects people with the brands they really want the first time they try.” The company has a desktop app that aims to redirect typos to the intended site, but some users have complained that the software alters DNS settings and is difficult to remove from computers.

Sendori works with both advertisers and publishers to deliver content on pages reached by typos. Publishers, or the owners of these sites, work with Sendori to place content on the pages that they own, in order increase revenue. Advertisers can pay to have their content featured by Sendori. By the looks of this situation, the owner of Pappajohns.com is working with Sendori to place content on its page, and Pizza Hut is benefitting from the redirect, possibly as a paid advertiser.

All of this could be prevented if Papa John’s owned the domain in question to begin with. Instead,WHOIS records¬†show that it is registered to a user named “Pretap” in Nepal, who appears to be a serial cybersquatter. Papa John’s should seek to acquire the domain, which typically receives between 6,000 and 15,000 visitors per month, most of whom are surely looking for the pizzeria’s real homepage. Not owning common typos like this one can cause reputational damage and impact sales.

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