October 05, 2004
Mind Your First-Level Domains

I was just watching the 10pm replay of the Vice Presidential debate while simultaneously browsing the Internet and reading stories about Cheney's and Edwards' comments... so of course, when I heard Cheney, in response to allegations of inappropriate ties between Halliburton and the Bush administration, direct viewers to "factcheck.com, an independent web site," my fingers couldn't type fast enough. And where does this URL point?

See for yourself: http://factcheck.com

As of now, the link points to GeorgeSoros.com, which is running a big banner headline which reads "Why We Must Not Re-Elect President Bush." Imagine my surprise!

Presumably, Cheney intended to direct viewers to FactCheck.org, a "nonpartisan, nonprofit, 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics" run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Oops.

A few questions are tickling my mind... how many people are there out there like me who actually look up a URL mentioned on TV, either instantaneously by walking to the computer, or later by writing down the URL? What are the political affiliations of these people likely to be? And was this just a colossal turn of bad luck and uber-slip-of-the-tongue for Cheney, or were George Soros' people quick enough on the ball to hear that URL when it was broadcast at the regular hour this evening and snap up the domain name? If it was the latter, could this be a case of "cybersquatting"? Neither Google's Cache nor Internet Archive's Wayback Machine have any record of previous sites at this address. Talking Points Memo reports that during the debate, factcheck.com was a dead URL, so it does seem that someone worked quickly to push a redirect through...

Posted by Tara Wheatland at October 05, 2004 11:43 PM | TrackBack

A whois search suggests that it has been registered since February 4 of this year. It's registered under a very generic name and contact info is in the Cayman Islands. I'd say either Soros and friends thought of this back in February or as soon as Cheney said it they somehow arranged with these generic domain re-sellers to buy and redirect the domain this evening. I've set up a new domain from registration to being live in about 15 minutes before, but I sort of suspect that Soros didn't do this, because tracking down the owners of this domain would probably take longer than this evening. Very funny mistake in either case!

Posted by: Brian C on October 6, 2004 12:33 AM

For the whole story (why and when this domain name was redirected), you may have a look here.

Posted by: CÚdric on October 12, 2004 02:31 PM

It's a very nice website you're having here. Naked truth: http://www.techteacherblog.com/archives/2005/09/05/show-off-student-work-with-a-full-size-poster/ , amazing 3D effect

Posted by: James Drake on October 7, 2005 03:48 AM
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