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How KhanAcademy Secured One of Their Typos

September 2, 2012

Khan Academy Logo

The Wrath of KHAN

Tonight’s edition of 60 Minutes aired a story on KhanAcademy, an educational non-profit, backed by the likes of Bill Gates and Google, whose mission is to bring a “free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

While the 60 Minutes piece on KhanAcademy was quite fascinating, there is another story here to be told, about how the organization came to acquire one of its typos – ConAcademy.com.

I first learned of it several months ago, when on a whim I decided to type in the domain OverseeSucks.com to see whether it resolved.  To my surprise, that domain forwards to an article on DomainNoob,the author of whom provides a detailed first-hand account of how he personally helped KhanAcademy get ConAcademy.com away from Oversee.

Here is a brief excerpt from the article …

I worked on this [acquiring ConAcademy.com] for months. People were busy, out of town, the conference, the wrong person, that person lost my email, and forwarded it to her who passed it on to legal who wanted documentation of the Trademark etc. … I was trying to be patient, but when weeks went by without a response I decided to see if I couldn’t acquire some leverage, in a way I knew these people would understand. I was surprised to see, considering they own over a million domains, that OverseeSucks.com was available. With that in my subject line, someone got back to my email within a day and things started to move in earnest.

The author goes on to say,

Let me state here- I do not hate Oversee (and want to thank Howard for his help). I do not think that automated registration algorithms are necessarily evil. I AM saying that if you’re going to own a million names you better have a system in place for promptly giving back domains you have no business owning!

His supposition is that Oversee uses an automated script to register typos of search terms that are trending in popularity, whereas ConAcademy.com had been registered within a few weeks of the first big mainstream stories about KhanAcademy breaking.

The article is an interesting read.  For more on KhanAcademy, here is the piece which just aired on 60 Minutes:

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