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Boston Marathon Bombing – Domain Name News

Earlier this week I talked about the Boston Marathon and how I was disgusted when I saw that domain names were registered just minutes after the event. Actually, disgusted isn’t quite the word…. I was very upset, shocked, outraged, wanted to ball my eyes out… yeah that about covers it. Just to be clear, I’m talking about domains names and websites that a) were listed for sale and b) contained advertising (in the hope of someone click on an ad, and the owner would get paid). It was a very sad day for everyone.


Graph Courtesy Of IPNeighborhood.

Rather that just sit there and let all the emotions build up, I decided to use the resources at my disposal and put some context around it. So here it is – a cybersquatting event. I know some purists will say “Oh you cant use the word cybersquatting” – well guess what? Boston Marathon is a registered US Trademark and some of those domains are listed for sale – so get over it.

After we analyzed every single .com, .net and .org domain on the planet for the past few days, we came up with the above graph. From a technical standpoint, what interested me was the number of .com registrations over everything else. It’s crystal clear to me that .com is still the most popular TLD.


Pointing The Finger

One of the concerns I had, was that its easy for people to “point the finger” and blame the Internet industry, Internet Marketers, ICANN or those “evil domainers”. The reality is that this isn’t one group of people and it also comes down to intent. Some domain names will be used for tribute sites, charities and legitimate companies who are taking donations to help people and that’s perfectly ok. After all, helping people is what it’s all about.


You Can Do Better

Here’s the thing, the Internet industry can do something about it.

  1. Come out and publically comdemn it.
  2. Don’t just sit there making $$$ from your ads on those cybersquatting / bad taste web sites.
  3. When events like this happen, don’t accept the domain name registrations.
  4. Don’t do business with the companies and people who are registering these names.

This past week saw multiple tragedies, it wasn’t a good week. What I can say is that the sun will rise in the morning and time will eventually heal.

About Simon

Simon has a long history in IT and is one of Australia’s Internet Pioneers. In the late 1980?s he began using BBS’s on a 300 baud modem reading messages from around the world on Fidonet. He later co-founded one of Australia's first ISP's, authored the bestselling book on Internet Safety and wrote for a number of years for Australian Personal Computer magazine. Simon regularly appears in television, radio and print interviews on a variety of Internet related topics.

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