Spelling Test

Josh Bourne ⬥ 30 March

UPDATE: Yahoo! had filed a lawsuit over the domain name, and in early June, the dispute was settled and flicker.com was transferred to Yahoo!.  Flicker.com now points to the Flickr homepage.

Most people are familiar with Flickr, the photo sharing Web site owned by Yahoo!  But given its pronunciation, I would be willing to bet that most people’s first instinct if they are not familiar with the brand’s creative spelling would be to type in “Flicker,” following the standard spelling of a fairly common English word.  So I decided to visit flicker.com, curious to see what content it held.

As it turns out, Yahoo! does not own the domain name flicker.com.  The owner keeps the site very austere – the only content is a simple graphic and a sidebar of statistics.  These statistics reveal that the site receives 3.6 million unique visitors per year, and that over 95% of those come from direct navigation.

The overwhelming traffic that flicker.com receives is direct proof that direct navigation is a very real practice.  When the term “flicker” is searched in Google, Yahoo! and Bing, the very first result is the official Flickr page, so there is no reason to think that search engines are driving visitors to flicker.com.  And “flicker” as a generic term is not really used commonly enough to attract such high levels of unique visitors a year.  It is clear that flicker.com receives a vast portion of its traffic from Internet users who are trying to access Flickr and simply misspelling the term in the address bar of their browsers.

For those who are convinced that direct navigation is irrelevant and that Internet users always turn to search engines to access content online, flicker.com should serve as irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

Tags: Bing, direct navigation, domain names, Flickr, generic term, Google, Internet, Internet users, lawsuit, search engines, typo, Web site, Yahoo!

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