.MIL —> .ML is a Cautionary Tale for .CO Operators

One of the most prominent military news stories kicking off the week is related to misdirected emails as a result of a common typographical error involving domain names. The country of Mali has the .ML ccTLD extension while the US Military operates on the .MIL domain extension. Here’s an excerpt from the Financial Times article covering the news today:

Millions of US military emails have been misdirected to Mali through a “typo leak” that has exposed highly sensitive information, including diplomatic documents, tax returns, passwords and the travel details of top officers.

Despite repeated warnings over a decade, a steady flow of email traffic continues to the .ML domain, the country identifier for Mali, as a result of people mistyping .MIL, the suffix to all US military email addresses.

I think this is a cautionary tale for businesses that operate on a .CO domain name. I understand that it is very common for emails intended for businesses on a .CO domain name arrive in the matching .com domain name email inboxes. People are most accustomed to sending emails to @xxxxxx.COM email addresses, and many will append the M as a natural habit. When the .com domain name is used by another company and their email is operational, the email will be routed to the wrong recipient.

Although the implications for misdirected military emails have much more serious consequences, a business could lose leads or upset customers whose emails go unanswered. In a worse-case scenario, trade secrets or business news could be obtained inadvertently. In the case of a descriptive domain name operated by a competitor, this could be very bad.

There isn’t a whole lot of discussion about misdirected emails intended for businesses that operate on a .CO domain name. Those companies likely don’t want to highlight what must be a concerning and frustrating issue for them, particularly when the .com is unobtainable or very expensive. However, this military news shows how frequently it can happen – even with less common domain name typos than the .CO —> .com.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


    • Point taken, but I am not sure how accustomed people are to sending emails to .mil email addresses, but they are accustomed to using .com.

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