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Date: 2023-11-17 16:52:15
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A few months ago, I sold a domain name via Squadhelp. Based on how the sale was made, I was pretty sure the domain name was not acquired by an existing brand. When I went to check to see if the domain name was being used using Safari, I was forwarded to another website. I was surprised to see that it forwarded me to an existing website.
A Whois search did not reveal any additional information, so I explored further. I visited the domain name on a Chrome browser, and I was taken to a default GoDaddy landing page. This perplexed me. A bit of additional researched showed me what happened.
The other day, Adam Strong shared a similar story about being redirected on Safari:
Am I just new to the internet or has safari been hijacking URLs like this for a while? pic.twitter.com/EwQ52JWRav
— adamstrong ???? (@adamstrong) November 15, 2023
What I learned is Google is redirecting users on Safari who have the (default) option to include search suggestions. If this toggle is turned off by the user, they will visit whatever domain name they type-in rather than a Google suggestion.
There are a couple of implications of this for domain investors. For one thing, I don’t think Safari users who are opted-in will be able to visit a PPC landing page. This would reduce parking revenue since redirected visitors can’t click PPC links. In addition, Google may redirect people away from domain names that are for sale but not developed. Someone who visits a name I own that is “for sale” may get redirected elsewhere and the visitor will assume the domain name he checked is already developed.
As Bill Hartzer pointed out, this is not a new development.
This is a very intentional redirect to better the user experience. Because it involves Google and Apple, I am quite certain this feature won’t be changed. It is something domain investors should know about.