There is a movie that starts with "the", let's call it "The Prince of Darkness". I noticed that www.theprinceofdarkness.com was the official movie site, but www.princeofdarkness.com was unregistered. So I registered www.princeofdarkness.com solely for the purpose of measuring how much traffic it would get. I slapped on some Google Analytics and here is the result:
So www.princeofdarkness.com has gotten 68 visits. Using http://www.trafficestimate.com, I determined that the original site, www.theprinceofdarkness.com, got 67,600 visits in the past month. Assuming that the estimate is correct, then that means my nearby website attracted 0.1% of the traffic.
I would gladly tell you the real name of the movie, but then you guys would visit my web site and throw the experiment off. :)
EDIT: www.domaintools.com reports the original site's traffic at around 17,000 visitors a month.
Customers largely don't type in domains anymore. They use Google. You're going to win on google versus any typosquatter, and most probably versus a competitor who actually makes a bit of an effort. (To use an example taken totally at random, http://www.bingocardscreator.com , for example.)
However, I do have one bit of domain buying advice: own the big three (com/net/org) for anything you register. Aaron Wall has waxed eloquently on this topic before, so you can read it on his blog, but exact match domains have an insane boost associated with them currently on Google and if you exactly match the search query you can get to the top of the rankings by sneezing.
In the browser, perhaps, but not in emails or other types of messaging. Business cards and other printed materials are another example where people will have to retype domains.
I agree that having the big three is important. If you ever sell a business or domain, it's worth considerably less if you don't control the other TLDs for the name.
I suggest people use the Japanese idiom for giving out web addresses which have to be recopied: a text box with your search phrase and a button labeled search with a cursor over it. (I have a set of bilingual business cards which use my name in a search form as their only content. 50% edgy marketing, 50% "a design so simple even I couldn't screw it up.")
I don't think I've ever made that mistake so I hadn't even considered it but I suppose it makes sense.
Also, you should have more important questions to deal with, like how to get people to your actual domain.
I'm actually asking this for a friend of mine.
The domain is already attracting a good amount of traffic for a fairly popular application. He's already registered a bunch of domains to keep the squatters at bay - the question is really whether he should renew any of them or none at all.
The problem is having too many domains. After a while, the price adds up and the overhead isn't worth it, either. I recently transferred a few hundred domains from GoDaddy to another registrar and it literally took half a day to do it. Lock-in sucks.
1) Those clients are unlikely to try again after the misspellings.
2) Squatters / other sites on those domains will negatively affect your brand.
My point was whether that was worth doing. In those two instances (where loss of customer or loss of brand strength was likely), I would suggest yes.
If you're Facebook, Facebok.com won't be worth much - people will note the spelling error or hit Google and be properly directed. If you're Xobni, then Zobni.com might be worth it (so you don't lose potential clients who've kinda heard about you), and if you're Disney and you know Walt Dinsey is a massive South American porn star, then grabbing Dinsey.com would be wise.
People reach you through google or through links, the name doesn't really matter anymore. Flickr is a great success yet it could be considered a misspelling. Actually "mispellings" are company names these days.
1. You have a lot of money.
2. You might be a phishing target.
3. There's an affiliate program on the non-typo domain.
It's a good idea to try to buy the most popular typos, you can get an idea if you check the search query frequency for each typo (try the Adwords Keywords tool) or you can "kite" a bunch of typo domains and delete non-performing ones before you have to pay for them.