However, some people buy up names just to resell them for loot. Cyber-Squatters. The Law Society of Scotland paid a Cyber-Squatter £10,000 for www.lawscot.co.uk.
This happened to my friend Jay today. Somebody bought up his old domain name, www.jyergeau.com, and is blackmailing him for cash. And hosting porn links to pay the bills, and to entertain Jay’s old clients. Yo, Jay, if it makes a difference, In America, the US Senate has passed a law outlawing cybersquatting with a $100,000 fine for registering internet addresses in bad faith.
Of course, the only real recourse for this sort of thing is old-school Mafia shit, and you’re a skinny motherfucker from Vermont.
I’ve cut & pasted his blog entry over, I link to him in my friends list too. It’s pretty funny.
“My apologies for the mass email, but I’m being blackmailed, and I needed to tell you all about it.
I have enough sense of humour to laugh this one off, but only if you laugh with me. After all, it’s not every day you see your name and number on a porn site.
If you point your browser to my old web address, http://www.jyergeau.com, you will see not only my name and old tag line, but links to porn as well. Then there’s a little notice to me — the “previous owner” — to send “email@example.com” an email if I find the site at all interesting.
I no longer own that domain name. According to the records, someone in “Illinois, Israel” does. (I’m sure it’s a lovely place. And if it existed, I’d consider flying out there to knock on this guy’s door with a bat. No wait, no wait, I’m laughing this one off — right.)
You see, a couple months ago there was an unfortunate mix-up, and I missed my domain renewal. The way the system works is if you miss your renewal, the domain people will save your address, but it goes into an 18th-century purgatory style lock-up where you have to pay big bucks to get out. And if you don’t pay, they send it back to the cold void where it’s up for grabs for only $7.
In my case, I didn’t think the open market would be a problem. What sane person would want jyergeau.com? I earned my anonymity after years and years of spelling my last name repeatedly, only to get letters and phone calls to “Jason Yergay”, “Warjew”, or “Yer-gi-oh”. I was either gay, a Polish Jew, or a Japanese cartoon. I never had any identity of my own. But no, this time I was going to come up on top. This time my silent statement would be to revel in the very uniqueness of my name by NOT paying the hundreds of dollars to get out of .com purgatory! I paid my dues, for god’s sake.
And so, feeling comfortable in my own domain (which perhaps got me to purgatory in the first place), I decided to wait until the lock-up was over so I could renew the domain on the open market for $7. There’s no telling when they will release the dot com, so I tend to check every few days. Today when I checked, I found out Jason Yergeau has an interest in all sorts of things that I didn’t even know existed.
What happened is some guy, somewhere, keeps track of domain expirations. He probably has an automated system that caches (saves) web sites just before they go offline, and then if they reach the open market, he instantly registers the domain name and puts up a combination of the old site and porn, with a blackmail message attached. I assume if I were to email him, he’d tell me to send him money. I’d sooner send him a mail bomb. (And electronically, this is an option.)
Now here’s where you’ve got to laugh with me. I don’t want this bastard to get any of my emails, so be sure to update your address books: my new, permanent address is firstname.lastname@example.org [I changed it, just in case you’re worried]. And I imagine jyergeau.com will be up for a year or so before he realizes I’m not contacting him, so please forgive my tarnished Google.com reputation. Not that it was that great anyway. Besides the Jason Yergeau in NC with a criminal record, my name manages to come up with a mediocre play review (the rest were raving, I swear) and a crappy article about wildlife management I wrote when I was 14. It’s a battle I rather not fight, so I’m putting down the bat and laughing this one off. Eventually I’ll say that enough times to start meaning it.
So until jyergeau.com Part II is finally gone, look for me in theatres.
All the best,
P.S. — My new web portfolio, storybynumbers.com, will be launched on September 1! I promise it’s a more tasteful showcase of my talents.”