Hope you are doing well. I am still overseas, but thought you might be interested in how Google is spell correcting some domain name and filepath spelling errors. http://www.seobook.com/google-corrects-domain-name-spelling-errors
seibook.com/book is a real URL, only 1 character away from that URL causes google to point to my domain while changing a character in the domain name and 3 in the filename.""
***FS*** This type of stuff can backfire for the obvious "confusion issues" you touch on Aaron. Google acting as the arbiter, deciding which site you want, based on ancillary information you give it.. Type seibook.com in the Google search box and the algo results spit back the requested seibook.com site (for me in Cayman anyway).. Give Google more information such as the /blog filepath after the URL and Google thinks the user is looking for Aaron's site because it knows that seibook.com/blog isn't indexed or doesn't exist.
I think this gradual shaping of navigation will eventually creep into address bar navigation.. That could reignite browser competition... and combined with higher registry renewal prices will cause lots of longer tail "tasting acquired" portfolios to start dying off. Expect a lot more name deletions in 2008-2009 .. partly based on the economy (speculative chaff jettisoned) and partly based of changes like these.
That said, this only works so far. History has shown, you can't cage the user... Throw up too many blockades, detours and roadblocks to user intent and people will abandon your platform. I am living proof of that statement as we get almost 100% of our traffic from around Google.. Google sends us nothing -- effectively no traffic, yet all our visitors are Google users.. That's a lot of disgruntled customers who are forced to leave Google, finding their way to our front door by avoiding the natural path (through Google). If Google stopped the gaming their search results, allowing Domain Name searches in their search box to resolve or at least show the actual site requested, our traffic would spike significantly.. I don't expect the cold war against direct navigation to stop anytime soon ... but a fellow can always hope.. and take comfort in the fact that Google, Microsoft and all navigation helpers can game and cajole as they wish.. People will find their way to the 'free Internet'.. (the site they actually want) eventually.
Everytime I post on this subject it reminds me of the great quote by Gandhi:
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you; then you win!"
For the longest time Search engines ignored domains.. and later some (not all) search operators laughed at the domain name navigation concept, ridiculing it as "Grandma Navigation" .. well the fact that Google runs a registrar, a domain parking program and aggressively shapes domain searches in the Google searchbox, illustrates to me that they have decided to fight (or at least try to control) some forms of domain navigation.
I look forward to the day when every domain name correctly entered into the Google search-box will reward the user with a link to the site they request. If you love your users Google, set them free. :)