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9:38am on Tuesday, 5th May, 2009:

At Opposite Ends


Over the weekend, I noticed that Damion Schubert's blog, Zen of Design, had disappeared. My guess is that his domain name, zenofdesign.com, had expired and been instantly bought by someone with the sole aim of selling it back to him.

I know there are computers out there that spider web sites looking for domain names that other sites link to, which they store in a database alongside the whois-listed expiry date. As the time approaches, they lodge a bid for the domain name and hope that the current owner hasn't noticed that one email warning that it's about to expire (or that they have noticed but are in hospital or something and unable to act on it). Milliseconds after the deadline has passed, they snaffle it. No human interaction is required until the previous owner suddenly finds that their home page is now someone else's home page. Oh, and every time that they or anyone else looks at the new site, the advertisers who have paid for links across a package of such sites get another set of eyeballs.

I lost Bartle.info this way.

Also over the weekend, I took delivery of the domain name tvpn.com . Having only four letters, this is probably worth several thousand dollars. However, it was given to me for free by its previous owner, because he thought I could make use of it for the Virtual Policy Network. I could indeed, and that's where http://www.tvpn.com/ now takes you. What a great guy!

Two people, at opposite ends of the decency spectrum.

[Edit: it looks like Zen of Design is back in its rightful owner's hands now, thank goodness.]

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).