The Benefits of Misspelling on eBay & Blogs

It has been a funny couple of days for my blog.

Remember the incredible volume of page views I saw when I posted my theories on the likely ending to the new series, Battlestar Galactica?  Well, let me tell you, posting the expected title of the new Harry Potter book has spiked my blog again to one of the fastest growing.

Interestingly, I found out, after about 1,000 page views and a dozen comments, that I had gotten the title wrong.   I had posted the title as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” instead of the correct title, “Hallows”.

Apparently, however, it is a common mistake.  So common, in fact, that the original news story that I had quoted had also made it.

In fact, it has been so common that literally thousands of people have been typing “Harry Potter Hallows” into Google & Yahoo, and my blog has reaped the benefit.   No doubt, the post is popular because it reflects, through indexing, a common mistake that people make.  The competition for the misspelled version is less, and my post is right there, indexed perfectly for it.

Misspelling has to be one of the most common “predictably wrong” things that people do in the modern world of internet search.  And yet, despite years of technology and focus on the area, it still can be an incredible source of value.

On eBay, for example, it has been a long-standing trick of experienced buyers to search for common mis-spellings of their favorite items.   Since most buyers don’t search for the mis-spellings, they often find great deals from unwitting sellers who don’t realize their mistake.

Similarly, I’ve seen eBay sellers take advantage of common mis-spellings by offering listings that feature mis-spelled words in their titles!  Less competition, since most sellers spell their titles correctly.

Of course, eBay is always working to upgrade its search engine with common mis-spellings, since its goal is to make the marketplace as efficient as possible.

Still, new mis-spellings crop up all the time.  In the blogging world, it looks like I inadvertantly contributed to a new problem, and reaped an unfair reward.

I have now updated my blog to include the correct spelling and a note, but I notice that my blog article URL is permanently indexed to the wrong spelling.

Oh well.  It’s always fun to have your blog page views look like this: