Maladroit typists can be easy prey for scam artists, as Twitter recently discovered, and now Google's dealing with its own impostors. It's filed a series of domain disputes with the National Arbitration Forum this week, related to sites designed to ensnare unsuspecting users trying to visit YouTube. The domains — youtbe.com, youtub.com, youube.com, and yutube.com — are all registered to the same person in Illinois, according to Whois records, and all direct users to a fraudulent website offering cash or other rewards in exchange for survey information. We tried our luck at youtbe.com, and were promptly informed that as today's winner in Osaka, we could take our pick from three surveys — written in barely comprehensible, machine-translated Japanese. So far, so predictable.
Visit youtbe.com from an English-speaking country's IP, though, and you'll be taken to a different page altogether, sporting a design one could say has been "inspired" by the video sharing site. Google should have a pretty clear case, here; it simply needs to prove that the domain is "confusingly similar" to a trademark, being used in bad faith, and that the domain holder has no rights to the product referenced in the name. Once that's settled the URLs should be transferred straight into Google's ownership, but until then we'd recommend typing with restraint the next time you go looking for cat videos.