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Expired church domains presenting adult content

4:21 pm on May 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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There's been a discussion on an webmasters email list generated by expired church domain names being taken up and used as doorways to adult sites.

Here's one of the latest quotes from a concerned list member:

"I got a spam email recently saying that I could increase traffic to my site by subscribing to their newsletter listing expiring sites, and then"re-purposing" the expired names and taking advantage of their traffic. It is not just porno guys doing this, but it is becoming a business of its own.

Educate your clients about the hazards of dropping a developed domain name. Educate your kids about safe surfing."

Since there are existing links, primarily from other church web sites, pointing to the expired domains, this is generating a lot of disturbance, correspondence and concern bordering on outrage among the ecumenical community.

This is, incidentally, the oldest, largest denomination world-wide, so I'm watching with interest to see what, if any, action will be taken if and when the issue is brought to the attention of officialdom.

While anyone is perfectly entitled to take up expired names, so the outcome if there should happen to be class-action litigation instigated is doubtful, what could tip the scales, and cause public attention to get a bit "emotional" to say the least, is that several of the sites I've seen have nothing more than "ENTER" when arriving at the domain. No warning for minors. Uh oh!!

I'd hate to think where an investigative journalist of a crusading persuasion would start to go with this one in a bad mood on a boring day.

Thinking about this, what will be the implications regarding usage for the new TLDs being made available this summer?

4:47 pm on May 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

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As I've stated before, I don't understand the mindset of the people that do that sort of thing....other than money being the motivation. So actually then, I guess I do understand the thinking about the bottom line and marketing end of it. So what it really boils down to is moral judgement calls on the marketers part.

A vast majority of the public is firmly opposed to this sort of material being pumped at them constantly by the minority who think it's cool. I suspect the people in between the two extremes are supporting the minority financially.

As you said Marcia, the minors and children factors invovled could make it a volatile issue.

I honestly don't think it will flourish as a tactic and will soon wither up and blow away. I hope so.

It would be wonderful to see people gather together to stand against this sort of thing...particularly across denominational lines. I suspect the people using these tactics will take the path of least resistance and seek a quick buck elsewhere.

5:10 pm on May 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I hate to see those @#$@#$ people who misuses the stuff they have and specially in the wrong manner.

has anyone been to www.Jesus.com ? I am working hard for last 8 months to get that stupid web site of the domain - but without success.

I would appreciate if anyone can help me out or have any suggestions of what to do?

5:45 pm on May 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Going beyond value judgments, or marketing considerations, an issue I'm looking at is what could conceivably happen down the road if there were to be enough influence wrought.

This might be taking liberty with a stretch of the imagination, but consider the effect it would have if domain name acquisition came under tight Government control, and it was necessary to file an application that needed to be approved before a domain name was granted, and that there was a complaint procedure for alleged misuse.

Under that type of system, if there were subsequent complaints about suitability of content, then license to use the name could be revoked.

Would registrars protest this? No way! Think of the increased cost to administer, and the opportunity for increased revenue and profitability for those administering it.

Aside from the fact that personal liberty and privacy would be jeopardized under such a scenario, what would happen to the ability of independent webmasters and small companies to be able to pay for domain names? Prices would inevitably skyrocket.

It seems that short-term limited financial gain for few could turn out to be long-term loss for many.

Not too long ago, Woz reported on the tight government controls and restrictions in China for getting domain names. Could the same thing happen here?

Just conjecture, but not at all impossible.