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America Online

AOL domain hi-jacking: Part Deux 72

The accusations of domain-hijacking on the part of AOL, over aolsearch.com continue to fly. In corrospondence with Cybele, she's alerted me to the fact (can anyone confirm?) that her new site is being blocked from anyone within AOL, even going so far as to talk with AOL's tech staff, who didn't know what's going on.
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AOL domain hi-jacking: Part Deux

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  • by Dowser ( 14991 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:59AM (#1826750) Homepage
    It's not AOL blocking them...
    The DNS at interland.net is messed up.
    if you query them for www.webmasterfx.com you get the answer:
    www.webmasterfx.com. 3h45m56s IN NS dns3.interland.net.webmasterfx.com.
    www.webmasterfx.com. 3h45m56s IN NS dns2.interland.net.webmasterfx.com.
    Somebody has forgotten a dot and a A-record
    Maybe it's time to verify ones DNS-records before going public.. :)
  • Did a little research and it appears something is certainly amiss with AOLSEARCH.COM

    Here's the details that we know:

    1. AOLSEARCH.COM appears to have been transferred to AOL

    2. NSI was able to send the original Registrant a bill their address must be valid...unless they later moved?

    3. AOLSEARCH (AOL SEARCH) is *NOT* registered as a service mark anywhere I'm aware of. NSI's dispute policy only kicks in for domains that match EXACTLY to a registered mark. This is not the case here. Furthermore NSI's policy clearly states that while NSI may cancel a domain registration in the case of a dispute (in this case by court order only), NSI will *NOT* transfer the domain to the other party. The other party, namely AOL, *must* do a NEW registration to obtain the disputed domain.

    With the above information I draw the possible conclusions:

    1. AOL submitted a bogus RCNA to NSI (or AOL just called and convinced someone) to do the transfer - most likely conclusion

    2. AOL initiated NSI's dispute policy - but not sure how AOL could have since the domain does NOT match any mark exactly that I'm aware of

    3. AOLSEARCH.COM was voluntarily transferred to AOL for whatever reason

    Bottom line is something is certainly amiss and without more details it's difficult to know for sure what happened. However, in my view from the
    information I've seen so far it appears that AOL *and* NSI are both at fault and the AOLSEARCH.COM registration should be restored to the original Registrant immediately.

    Without a RCNA, NSI is wrong to transfer the domain to AOL unless there's other
    details I'm not aware of such as a court order.

    Some have mentioned that the supposedly faulty mailing address of the Registrant was grounds for the transfer to AOL. This is pure nonsense!! Mail, etc is irrelevant. Ignore that because the real issue is did NSI receive a valid RCNA from the original registrant?? If not, the domain must be restored since NSI's policy is clear in this regard.

    If NSI doesn't correct the registration, then the next logical legal step for the original Registrant would be to get a *subpoena* for the RCNA agreement...if NSI can't produce one, then it's clear that the original Registrant still owns the domain, NOT AOL. Simple!

    [originally posted on Usenet and CCed to NSI and the original Registrant - to date neither have responded]
  • by Aramis ( 18511 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @05:11AM (#1826752) Homepage
    FWIW, I can get to that site on AOL.

    As a former AOL employee I can tell you that this sort of thing happens often, but is not as sinister as it seems. This is usually due to proxy problems. The easiest way to confirm this is to minimize AOL (assuming you are using the 32-bit version) and launch IE/Netscape/etc and try to reach the site. This bypasses one of AOL's proxy services. If that works then AOL's proxy cache is probably old, slow or not responding. In fact, most people don't know that you can run any browser you like on top of AOL and get better performance. Unfortunately for AOL, they don't get any marketing information (what web sites are visited for how long, etc) when you do this.

    Regarding calling tech support, I'm not surprised they didn't know. Like most big corporations, AOL considers tech support to be an expensive, non-income producing liability. Consequently, this is where the most aggressive budget slimming occurs. Most of AOL's tech support is out-sourced to other companies. This is fine if you're new to computers and need someone to hold your hand while you install, on need a local access number, etc. If you have a problem that isn't listed in the tech support database, and especially if it requires information from actual Admins, you're SOL. In that case, your best bet is to bypass tech support completely, and write to stevecase@aol.com. The CEO isn't going to read your message  However, those that do are the most likely to be able escalate these types of issues to someone with a clue.

    Aramis
  • Yeah, I managed to (finally) dig up the IP for their site, and then tried to do a reverse lookup, and I found out that they don't have any reverse-DNS records for that IP, which may explain why some sites won't contact it.
  • From the looks of it, the reason she mentioned the website is too drive slashdot traffic to it. Notice that the website has nothing to do with AfroAmerican Search. Either that, or she is overreacting. As one AOL user and a technie said, they don't see anything wrong.

    Whatever the case, Hemos or CmdrTaco better hide the link. I don't think we want slashdot.org look like a bunch of dolts!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bottom line, she was squatting on the domain name. She thought she could pull a fast one by playing "the race card". Even now she's just scamming people, looking for more hits to her pathetic website.

    People like that disgust me. They'll increase racial tensions, slander individuals and businesses, anything to get a buck.
  • by teasea ( 11940 )
    That site should be blocked! First of all it's hideously ugly. Second it drags you all over the place, opening new browser windows. And worst of all, it opens pop-ups when your trying to leave. The equivalant of the salesman sticking his foot in the door.

    If someone can't resist telling me how to avoid these things, don't bother. That's not the point.

  • Get yourself a nice, heavy door, possibly with sharp edgings (not sharp as such, but built to shear things) Salesperson puts foot in door, door keeps closing anyway (sometimes, momentum is your friend)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    She's using frames without alt tags. Who cares if her page is blocked, her site sucks.
  • :-)

    What is the Real World equivalent of slashdotting an annoying salesperson?


  • Did anyone else notice all the broken images and links? Or that empty table in the middle of the right-hand frame? The top-right-hand image linking to #test1? What exactly is that site supposed to be, an honest-to-God attempt to sell some services? It was a rather mediocre one, if it was...

    Maybe AOL blocked it because it was lousy! Why oh why did slashdot provide us a link to it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    For someone who claims to have been an AOL employee, you're not very well informed about the service.

    First off, if you're having problems resolving a site in the AOL client, it's not because the cache is old, slow, or not responding. These things do happen, but they're not going to prevent you from resolving the addresses properly. What will prevent you from resolving the addresses properly is a DNS failure. AOL's got a pretty big network, and as such they probably have quite a few DNS servers meshed together. This can result in problems with DNS changes propagating, especially if the site in question is using long TTLs or making a lot of changes to their DNS or their nameservers.

    Yes, most people don't know that you can run any browser on top of AOL. But you don't get better performance by doing it. By running an external browser, you bypass AOL's cache servers. Considering that AOL's cache servers have a very good cache hit rate, and every test, including Inverse Technologies tests, show that the cache servers at AOL make it one of the fastest places to get a web page by a wide margin.

    The reason AOL wants people using the internal browser and doesn't tell people about using external browsers is two-fold. One, it would jeopardize their contract with MS for placement on the Win95 desktop. Two, because it makes the web go faster for the users to go through the cache complex.

    Marketing information is not collected regarding what web sites people visit. Not only does it violate AOL's privacy policies (which they are very serious about and very good about following now that they exist), but according to recent ads, the AOL cache servers are processing over 2.5 billion web requests a day. That's a lot of log data, and it makes it impractical to try and correlate web sessions and even make any sense out of it.

    The cache servers at AOL exist because they make the experience better for the users. As well, they cut down bandwidth requirements all around (for both AOL and people hosting web sites getting hit by AOL users). If AOL wanted marketing information, they can get it from the client itself. And if they wanted to track where people are webbing, they'd sniff their networks internally, so using an external browser wouldn't matter. But that's just far too impractical to be doing, and the information just isn't that useful because of the sheer amount of it. Plus we all know it's mostly porn anyways :)

    As far as tech support goes, yes, it is an expensive, non-income producing liability. It is at just about any company, it's just the nature of the beast. A lot of companies charge for tech support to try and defray the costs. AOL doesn't. And if you were better informed, you would know that AOL has numerous call centers throughout the country that handle tech support calls. The call centers are part of AOL, and the people that work there are AOL employees. A tiny bit of research reveals that AOL does not out-source most of their tech support, or even any of it, it seems.

    And yes, you're not going to get a systems administrator when you call tech support. The sysadmins are busy upgrading systems, keeping things running, trying to proactively identify problems and fix them, and generally do their jobs. This is part of the reason call centers and network operations centers exist: to screen the calls and answer questions that they can and track problems that they can't fix so they can fix them later, and thereby let the admins do their jobs.

    And the best bet is NOT to bypass tech support completely and write to stevecase@aol.com. Sure, he doesn't read that personally, but if you send tech support requests there, you're going to get redirected to the call centers and tech support email addresses. Your best bet is to not let the tech support person you talk to off the phone until the problem is fixed. If they can't solve the problem you're having, ask them to escalate the call and get someone who can on the phone. The people in the call centers aren't going to know everything. They're not supposed to! If they did, they'd be sysadmins. But they have the resources to help you and get an answer to your problem. They can get the next people up the line. They can put you in touch with the NOC if it's that serious. They can get the admins on the phone if it really warrants it.

    If you start harassing the admins and upper management with inane tech support questions, the service will only degrade, because they'll be distracted from their core responsibilities by support issues. The call centers exist for a reason. Use them. And help the people working there to help you by being intelligent and not flying off the handle when they can't answer your question immediately. Be patient, and your problems will get solved.
  • Out of curiousity, do we have any proof that she actually ever owned that domain.

    I have yet to see any evidence that she did and wasn't just
    a) domain squatting
    or
    b) trying to scam a high-visibility domain...
  • Yeah, that site was nothing special. In fact, it pretty much sucked, and I would never go to that for web design.


    It seems rather ironic that the day that /. announces the handover to andover.net that they drop the ball on news reporting. I mean, hey, a few minutes of time spent double checking things would have resulted in no story. Hopefully andover.net will provide the manpower to doublecheck posts...
  • it wasn't working with aol's browser a few minutes ago (but had no problems on communicator and ie4 run externally), but it seems to work now
  • where in cyberspace did she get that background design???


    I didin't see anything referring to the search engine either. I wish I had seen what the old site looked like - if it was such a great search page, you think it would have gotten more press...I don't know if it makes more interesting reading that the webmaster is female. Why do wired women always have to be put in a class? It certainly is a novelty for what I do - TGTH outshines all the male produced gonzo websites out there by far.


    Disable javascript to prevent those pop ups. My computer at home is hideously old and those things overtax it...on a related note, a friend of mine when to a porno site called Dirty Bird...got a "why are you leaving" form pop up when he tried to leave - he replied, "I thought this site had pix of birds having sex" ;-)

  • But could we find a better looking AOL graphic? I think that's one JPEG that's been through the washer one too many times.

    -NG


    +--
    Given infinite time, 100 monkeys could type out the complete works of Shakespeare.
  • it is ugly

    geeknews [geeknews.net]
  • Hey NSI nice to see you posting on slashdot.org...... I have such warm and fuzzy feelings for you too.

    LOL
  • >>>>
    WebmasterFX's Cybele here...... No WHY in the world would I want to drive traffic to THAT site ? I have another newer site that I'd love to drive traffic to, that is a zillion times better than my kaplunkt, old webmasterfx site..... I was very wary of NSI knowing where my MAIN business site is when the reporter from Internet.com asked me what my main site was , I was kinda fearful that NSI would fabricate another technicality and delete another domain of mine.....Now though, I'm less afraid of them since everything is out in the public arena...... FYI, I most porbably will upload my current website form my other site and upload it to webmasterfx just so people don't misunderstand and think i'm some kinda hack.....argh*%@$$%X#!&^%...... Anyway, the real reason aol wanted to block webmasterfx.com is because of all the stuff i have up there incriminating them AND Network Solutions...I posted on AOL's stupid investing boards on Saturday and on Sunday my site was suddenly inaccessible..Coincidence ? yeah, right.....
    Check out http://www.webmasterfx.com/aolsearch.htm to see proof positive to back my case and fry NSI/AOL.
    PAX - Cybele Roberts Emanuelle
  • ...but they still have a valid claim to aolsearch.com beyond a trademark dispute. AOLsearch's motives are questionnable at best. People purchase domains that are common misspellings of other names (i.e. Budweiser vs. Budwieser) knowing darn well what they're doing. African-American OnLine wasn't so naive when they bought aolsearch.com. I can think of variations that better reflect their purpose and can't be confused with AOL.

    Let's not forget the free publicity that this has generated for African-American OnLine. Wish I owned aolweb.com right about now...
  • AOL's blocking of a website (no matter how hideous) may be grounds for a lawsuit. People purchase the online service expecting access to the Internet -- namely the Internet in its entirety. Unless AOL explicitly informs customers that they can block sites at their discretion, it boils down to truth in advertising. oh well

  • Yes, most people don't know that you can run any browser on top of AOL. But you don't get better performance by doing it. By running an external browser, you bypass AOL's cache servers. Considering that AOL's cache servers have a very good cache hit rate, and every test, including Inverse Technologies tests, show that the cache servers at AOL make it one of the fastest places to get a web page by a wide margin.


    Check out www.sluggy.com [sluggy.com] for a rather compelling reason not to use the AOL browser. It was broken before, it's broken now.
  • Yes that is the HEART OF THE MATTER.......America Onlien likes to tout itself as a ''full service internet service" If they selectively blocks websites that are putting up negative press about them, then they are going against their own policy and are making fraudlent claims that they don't ever block domains, when in fact they do.... The really really important stuff regarding AOL blocking website access, NSI giving AOL my website in unauthorized, against their own policy is the EFFECT it could have on everyone else online.....Here's the point, they screwed me over and you may be next.....People's rights online and the web community's collective power is being usurped by these big monoliths who think they can make their own rules up as they go along.......I don't care if you agree with my name selection for my site African-American Online Search (because we're not talking about trademark disputes here, we're talking about illegal, unethical domain transfers) and whether you like my website webmasterfx.com or not, the point is is that AOL is lying and deciding what sites its members will see or not.....

    Sincerely yours,
    Cybele Roberts Emanuelle Megaspark/SupermodelWeb/AOLSearch.com
    wirednetfx@aol.com

    Following email certifying that webmasterfx.com was blocked by AOL.

    FWD:
    Subj: Re: AOL is even more corrupt.....New News !
    Date: 6/29/99 8:19:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    From: brian@PC-radio.com (Brian McWilliams)
    To: WiredNetFX@AOL.com

    Cybele,

    I was able to confirm that your site is inaccessible from AOL but IS
    accessible from another ISP.

    Send me another email this morning when you are available before 11:00a ET.

    Brian


    At 01:46 AM 6/29/99 , you wrote:
    >Hi,
    > I just found out that America Online is now blocking access to my
    >website that you mentioned in your piece on me last week........My site
    >http://www.webmasterfx.com is blocked from aol internet access.......I called
    >AOL about it and spoke to a tech guy named Steve , he told me that AOL never
    >blocks domain names and that "they are a full access internet community" ...
    >I told him that I could reach my site outside of aol and he told me that was
    >impossible....He tried pulling up my site on AOL and admitted he couldn't
    >view it....I then spoke to everyone else I know who has AOL and they told me
    >that they can't access my site either....They also told me that AOL told them
    >that AOL never blocks a website.... ARGH ! This is reallly bad Brian..I am
    >losing a lot of business now.... Many of my clients come from AOL........Do
    >you have any advice ? Can you believe that they do this and lie about it ?
    > Cybele

    ________________________________________________ __
    Brian S. McWilliams
    Host/Reporter, InternetNews Radio
    internet.com LLC
    Voice: (603) 742-9401
    http://www.internetnewsradio.com
    PGP fingerprint 1DDA 43FA 99EC A252
    BEF4 708B 9A2A 72DE B81B A748
    ICQ #4116051


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  • > But could we find a better looking AOL graphic? I think that's one JPEG that's been through the washer one too many times.

    Considering what the AOL browser does to jpegs, I think it's really pretty appropriate.

    I wish the spam icon were a little less blurry though.
  • on the other aolsearch.com someone posted this....

    unreacable from AOL
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, @02:03PM EDT (#147)

    This is what I got in the AOL-Browser
    for http://www.webmasterfx.com
    ==============================
    Unknown Host

    Description: Could not resolve the host "www.webmasterfx.com" in the URL
    "http://www.webmasterfx.com/".

    Traffic Server version 1.1.7
    ==============================
    Greetings!



  • Aww.....Isn't it nice to see the AOL (American Online Losers) script kiddies hard at work?
  • Please, What is this stuff?
    PLUS you will receive a website submit pro porgram and everything needed to professionally market your site via Email: 69 million E@ddresses and 1 fully licensed mass Email program on CD.

    Are you selling SPAM? http://www.webmasterfx.com/bullethost.ht ml [webmasterfx.com]

    Maybe I'm wrong and your Mass Email program is subscription based??


    --
    Bun-Bun Rules! [sluggy.com]
    90% of day read /.
  • It still doesn't matter. Simply buy aaolsearch.com . But instead of bitching, make a site that's worth visiting, and let that work in your favour. If you have a really good site, then everyone will rally behind you.
  • aaolsearch ? sounds like it'd be alcoholics anonymous online search......Thanks , but no thanks......... And i'm 'bitching' because principles are at stake here..... Ill say it one more time......What has happened me can happen to ANYONE (and I've heard hundreds of stories of poepl getting scr*wed over by NSI and sometimes AOL ) Me voicing my opinions is to warn others online...... Not to promote myself....I have lost several thousand dollars because I've opted to spend the last week and a half responding to people who've gone thru stuff like me and trying to start a grass roots effort to change things.....
    PAX, Cybele
  • That's because you're using a Windows character set! To the rest of the world his SmartQuotes show up as "?"'s. MS apparently thinks they own ASCII.
  • That site is not supposed to have anything to do with African-American Searching -- it's about AOL stealing a domain name.

    But it has at least 5 links to the original AOLSEARCH site [216.71.85.176] which you probably didn't look at.

    The issue here is NSI jerking someone around, which we're going to see a lot more of unless someone puts a stop to it. Publicizing a clear cut case of abuse of power, like this one, is a good start.
  • I agree I just went there and the site is an absolute joke....

    If the people from around the world designed sites like this then the web would be a total and utter mess.....

    Slashdot should not have run this story......
  • If you bought a piece of property as speculation that its value was going to increase; and after that value increased, you sold it at a profit -- would that be illegal? No. That would be called "good business sense." This is exactly the same as "domain squatting." Why should the latter be considered "bad" and the former considered "good"? The answer is, because you and every other person complaining about "domain squatting" didn't apply the little grey cells to the issue. By taking up arms against "domain squatters" you simply act as agents of big corps like AOL. Good idea. What do you think is going to happen when you want a domain name and it turns out Coca Cola owns it but isn't using it? Do you think you've got a snowball-in-hell chance of getting it from them? Wake up.

    It's better to have a free-for-all and have a chance at getting what you want; than back up the big boys just so THEY can get what they want.

    mp
  • This is just the sort of thing that news magazines such as 60 minutes would love to put on (make it look like they are on the cutting edge!)... It would be great to make "John Q. Public" aware of the moronic NSI policies.
  • First off, if you're having problems resolving a site in the AOL
    client, it's not because the cache is old, slow, or not responding.... What
    will prevent you from resolving the addresses properly is a DNS failure.

    True. And indeed that appears to be what happened in this case.

    Yes, most people don't know that you can run any browser on top
    of AOL. But you don't get better performance by doing it.

    This is true when everything is working properly. Recently not everything
    has. When the cache works life is good. When it doesn't your web sites
    never come up.

    The reason AOL wants people using the internal browser and doesn't
    tell people about using external browsers is two-fold. One, it would jeopardize
    their contract with MS for placement on the Win95 desktop. Two, because
    it makes the web go faster for the users to go through the cache complex.

    True again, excepting when it doesn't work.

    Marketing information is not collected regarding what web sites
    people visit....That's a lot of log data, and it makes it impractical to
    try and correlate web sessions and even make any sense out of it.

    Partially true. You are right about the volume. When I was there
    (only 10 million users) it was over 1GB per hour of compressed bitmapped
    data. One hell of a lot of data to make any sense out of. For the most
    part the data is only archived. But it is also used to identify those areas
    of AOL that are most visited. This data could be joined to the information
    in the billing database to create really neat demographic information,
    but that is really difficult to do (different databases on different hardware
    platforms), so AFAIK that isn't happening.

    The cache servers at AOL exist because they make the experience
    better for the users.

    True.

    If AOL wanted marketing information, they can get it from the
    client itself.

    They do.

    And if they wanted to track where people are webbing, they'd sniff
    their networks internally, so using an external browser wouldn't matter.
    But that's just far too impractical to be doing, and the information just
    isn't that useful because of the sheer amount of it.

    AFAIK they don't do this. Way too much work and the same data is already
    being archived

    And if you were better informed, you would know that AOL has numerous
    call centers throughout the country that handle tech support calls. The
    call centers are part of AOL, and the people that work there are AOL employees.
    A tiny bit of research reveals that AOL does not out-source most of their
    tech support, or even any of it, it seems.

    I never claimed AOL didn't have call centers, or provide any of their
    own tech support. This fact is generally irrelevant as these calls centers
    have no more access to the admins than the third party tech support.

    And the best bet is NOT to bypass tech support completely and
    write to stevecase@aol.com. Sure, he doesn't read that personally, but
    if you send tech support requests there, you're going to get redirected
    to the call centers and tech support email addresses... But they have the
    resources to help you and get an answer to your problem. They can get the
    next people up the line. They can put you in touch with the NOC if it's
    that serious. They can get the admins on the phone if it really warrants
    it.

    This is just not true. You will NEVER get operations staff on the phone
    by calling tech support. AOL internal communications just doesn't work
    that way. The cold business reality is that the majority of tech support
    calls are user error, and the majority of phone monkeys are not qualified
    to determine what problems warrant an admin's attention (apologies to those
    in tech support who have a clue, you know who you are). Thus, there is
    NO official line of communication from a phone monkey to an admin. Contrary
    to popular belief, being rude on the phone will not get you better service.

    If you start harassing the admins and upper management with inane
    tech support questions, the service will only degrade, because they'll
    be distracted from their core responsibilities by support issues. The call
    centers exist for a reason. Use them. And help the people working there
    to help you by being intelligent and not flying off the handle when they
    can't answer your question immediately. Be patient, and your problems will
    get solved.

    Absolutely true. Just be aware of the limitations phone support.

    Aramis

  • No self respecting person uses AOL anyway! who cares?
  • So, what they are saying is that if a registrant gives an "incomplete" address, their database can be removed from the database. Would getting the city wrong on your mailing address count? (According to bulk mail rules that my employer must follow, you must get all portions of the address correct, including zip+4, correct for it to be a complete address)

    If so, then our antagonist in this case should have THEIR domain removed. My proof:

    A search at USPS ZIP+4 Code Lookup [usps.gov] for the address listed on aol.com [freewhois.com], which is: 22000 AOL Way, DULLES VA 20166 (note the lack of zip+4, which I imagine NSI must retrieve before mailing) comes back from the USPS' own database as: "he address you entered was not found in DULLES VA in our database." Hmm, very interesting?

    Now, once one corrects for the obvious flaw in the CITY (which is not commonly known), the new address becomes: 22000 AOL Way, STERLING VA 20166-9302, which is valid. But why, oh why, is their registration record incorrect, yet their domain continues to exist, in violation of NSI's standard for complete addresses?

    One more thing to consider: Is my address wrong because I add a "tag" to trace junk mail or because I omit the street suffix, as in: 1208 Tiffany #K5 (no Ln, add #K5), but the USPS still delivers it correctly?

    Just a thought.

  • I don't use AOL myself and I just looked around her site and it took way to long to load up at 52000 kbps (way to much of LARGE JPG files!!!!back in sept of 98 poeple wouldn't take it!!!). And I just changed the http to ftp ( I use IE 5 ) and looked around the site and the oldest file I could find was 11/17/98, NOW that is AFTER SEPT... It looks like another scam to me... I'd say it was a nice try...
  • I have to agree with Cybele on this. A few children here have stated, "so what... the site sucks anyway." The issue is not wether her site *sucks* or not. The issue is whether AOL and NSI will be allowed to act in an illegal and immoral manner and get away with it. If we allow big corporations to trample the rights of smaller companies and individuals, then soon only the megacorps will have any rights. I own several domains, and I would prefer that NSI and/or some big faceless company DO NOT have the power to scoop them on a whim. I will personally help Cybele as much as I can, even if her web site contains content I disagree with. Yes, there are principles at stake here.

    Count me in on that grass roots movement.

    Thad

  • I visited the site before the transfer from AOL, at the time of the first /. posting, and it was the African-America OnLine Search at that point.
    /El Niño
  • Well, since I love being devil's advocate, AOL is a trademarked name, and just if I bought "microsoftsearch.com" or "ciscostuff.com", I'd have to deal with having my domain taken because although "ciscostuff.com" may stand for something else, I'd be using a trademarked name. Go with aaolsearch.com (the response to this being synonymous with alcoholics anonymous is pretty lame) seeing that this is "African-American". Then, copyright it, and then get a good lawyer.


    God bless copyright laws!
  • This is exactly the point. Forget what NSI is doing.... I can't go out and register sites like "ciscostuff.com" or "microsoftsearch.com" because I'd have lawyers beating down my door even IF I was granted the domain name. This is exactly why things are copyrighted and trademarked.


    Let's have a little experiment. Ask 100 people what "AOL" stands for and I bet you one or less will say "African-American Online"...


    And I do question the motives of this woman. For the "thousands" of dollars she's spending, she's getting decent publicity (which in turns gets advertisers who are sympathetic, etc.). Come to think of it, let's all do this and try to defraud companies.
  • The DNS was on hold at the time of the first posting. The site that you saw was said to be the original site, hosted at a different URL.
  • the oldest file I could find was 11/17/98, NOW that is AFTER SEPT... It looks like another scam to me... >>>>>AOLSearch.com (currently residing on its original backbone IP at http://216.71.85.176/ was originally created 6/22/98....The first work was commenced in Sept. 98.....It was simultaneously deleted and transferred to America Online by NSI on May 13th 1999.
  • An acquaintence forwarded this to me..... This person and a lot of other people who couldnt view the blocked webmasterfx site called aol and had the oh so bizzare experience (coincidence ?) of being able to suddenly access the site when one of the people in charge of the tech guys got involved........hmmm


    AOLTechKTN: Welcome to Member Help Interactive. Please present your question, and I will be with you in just a moment. :)
    AOLTechKTN: Welcome to Member Help Interactive! How may I help you today? =)
    FreddiePal: hello KTN are you there?
    FreddiePal: there is a very serious problem. My business has been trying to access a website through AOL and has been unable to since yesterday
    FreddiePal: hello?
    AOLTechKTN: Yes.
    FreddiePal: hi
    AOLTechKTN: Hello. :)
    AOLTechKTN: Can you access any other web sites? :)
    FreddiePal: yes, it appears this one is being blocked
    AOLTechKTN: Ok, what error are you receiving? :)
    FreddiePal: i notified AOL last night, and they gave ME access, but not anyone else, because my employees still cant get through
    FreddiePal: the site is www.webmasterfx.com
    AOLTechKTN: What did AOL do with you last night, please? :)
    FreddiePal: last night I wasnt able to access this site, which is critical to my business...
    FreddiePal: i wasnt able to access it for a couple hours until i told the tech
    FreddiePal: then suddenly it started working for me ... but not for my employees on other screen names
    FreddiePal: Its my understanding that AOL does not by policy block sites, so this one should be unblocked ASAP please, as ive said its important for my business
    FreddiePal: can you please see to it that the site is given open access to any screen name?
    AOLTechKTN: We do not block this site, no. What happens when they try to go to that site, please?
    FreddiePal: they get a no DNS entry error
    AOLTechKTN: What did you do with the AOL techs online last night, please?
    FreddiePal: Forgive me, but i am fairly knowledgable about AOL from people i know on the inside, and I know for a fact that AOL has the capability to block sites...
    FreddiePal: in the middle of the conversation I was booted off, coincidentally
    FreddiePal: the fact remains that most AOL subscribers cannot access that site currently, though i can now
    AOLTechKTN: I cannot get to this site either.. what happens when you try to get to the site by launching the browser externally?
    FreddiePal: it is accessible through all ISPs except AOL
    FreddiePal: thats how I know the block lies with AOL
    AOLTechKTN: Checking one moment, please. :)
    AOLTechKTN: Ok.. after asking teh experts here, this is what they told me.. "Okay, that means that the DNS server does not have an entry for that page. They need to email webmaster@aol.com to report that." =)
    FreddiePal: no no, i told you *i* am able to access it, other screen names are not
    FreddiePal: that means AOL is selectively allowing certain names through
    FreddiePal: anyone knows that...
    AOLTechKTN: I know... but we'd need to have you, being a member, report this to the webmaster for all of the others, I am not able to report this. :)
    FreddiePal: and I was only able to access it after I reported it last night
    FreddiePal: obviously anyone who complains is being let through, but everyone else is being intentionally blocked
    FreddiePal: if thats whats happening that isnt right, AOL advertises itself as giving full internet access
    AOLTechKTN: We do not block access to any specific sites from specific members.. honestly.
    AOLTechKTN: If you'd like more information o this.. I can have you speak with a Supervisor on this issue if you call us.
    FreddiePal: i am in the computer business, that seems to be the only explanation
    AOLTechKTN: We may not have the DNS entered for all sites, and we're trying to correct this .. this is why we may ask you to report things like this to us. :)
    FreddiePal: but it IS entered for my screen name, just not for the rest of the people using AOL!!
    FreddiePal: Are you saying AOL cannot provide access to this site for all members?
    FreddiePal: because my business advertises on this site, and that means that we will have much less response, and you realize that that is AOLs responsibility to correct
    AOLTechKTN: I'd be happy to refer you to someone here with more detailed information, as we cannot transfer in this area, I'd have to ask you call us and speak to a Supervisor, they will have more information on this.
    AOLTechKTN: As far as I am able to check AOL does not block any internet sites for any reason.
    FreddiePal: sorry, but they arent telling you the truth then
    FreddiePal: ok why is it you cannot help?
    FreddiePal: do you not have the power to allow full access to this site?
    AOLTechKTN: I can only ask you to report this to teh webmaster, no, I don't have the power to allow this site for any particular member.
    AOLTechKTN: (the)
    FreddiePal: ok can you pleunderstand the seriousness of this
    FreddiePal: hello?
    AOLTechKTN: Sure, I am sorry that I cannot assit more than this. My name is Jamie, Laura is my Supervisor, her screenname is LauraOAZ. I honestly don't have her direct dial number,
    FreddiePal: you just said i could call her, how may i reach her personally by phone then?
    AOLTechKTN: but I can give you our callcenter number, and then you can ask to speak to a supervisor. I cannot gaurentee you'll get Laura.
    FreddiePal: well im sorry but i need to be able to contact the person who is aware of the problem
    FreddiePal: ive just spent 10 minutes of my time trying to remedy the situation
    FreddiePal: im not going to start over again
    FreddiePal: either you can take care of it personally, or put me in direct contact with someone who can, thank you!
    FreddiePal: as i said, maybe AOL doesnt care that much, but this is critical to my business, and muyst be remedied at once!
    AOLTechKTN: Any Supervisor who you spoke to would be able to assist.. I'm not able to reach Laura right now myself to inform her of this issue. I cannot assis with this any more than requesting you please email the webmaster here at AOl.com, I have double checked with my help support staff and this is the correct path for me to offer.
    FreddiePal: what is your last name and your supervisors last name?
    AOLTechKTN: I am sorry that I cannot do more for you personally, but I am offering all that I can.
    FreddiePal: then please either give me the name and number of someone who CAN help me, not give me a dead end
    FreddiePal: please tell me your full name and laura's so i may ask for her in person, and refer our conversation
    FreddiePal: then you can be rid of me :)
    AOLTechKTN: I am sorry Sir, but we are not able to give out our last names, you are welcome to reference my screenname and AOL can find me by that immeadiately. I apologize for this inconvience.. if you like, I can email this conversation to Laura, and explain to her that you would like to have her call you?
    AOLTechKTN: WIth your permission, of course.
    FreddiePal: hmm thats a strange policy, seems like it makes it more difficult to get things resolved...
    FreddiePal: but thats fine, if you like she can call me
    FreddiePal: and you can email her this conversation if you like
    FreddiePal: my # is with my account info
    AOLTechKTN: I just got a hold of her.. asking her now if she can call you.. can you hold one more moment?
    AOLTechKTN: She also may come over to my desk and talk here. :)
    FreddiePal: that would be fine
    FreddiePal: (dont call my home number, i am not there currently)
    AOLTechKTN: Certainly. =)
    AOLTechKTN: Just waiting for Laura to respond.. sorry if this is taking a minute. :)
    FreddiePal: shall i wait for her here, or would she like to contact me later?
    FreddiePal: oh ok
    FreddiePal: thank you for understanding the importance of this situation
    AOLTechKTN: I do.. I am sorry for the frustration. I wish there was more I could do to assist with this.
    FreddiePal: like i said, it appears AOL may not be telling you everything you need to know to do your job properly :)
    FreddiePal: perhaps laura would prefer to email me about this later?
    AOLTechKTN: She is reading our conversation now, would you prefer to talk to her in this interactive area, or on the phone? :)
    FreddiePal: this is just fine
    AOLTechKTN: Ok, it'll be just a moment. ;)
    FreddiePal: actually, after all this, im sorry to say im being called into an important meeting
    AOLTechKTN: I understand.. may I have her call you later this afternoon then? :)
    FreddiePal: can laura please email me back her what to do about this situation?
    FreddiePal: if she would prefer to call that would be fine also
    FreddiePal: as long as i have some way to get back in touch with her!
    AOLTechKTN: I will have her do one or both then. Thank you for your patience.
    FreddiePal: ok thank you very much for your help
    AOLTechKTN: The number to reach you is the daytime number listed on your acount? :)
    FreddiePal: XXX-XXX-XXXX
    FreddiePal: yes
    FreddiePal: i will be there in about an hour
    AOLTechKTN: Thank you very much, she will be in touch. =)
    AOLTechKTN: Again, I'm sorry for the frustration.
    FreddiePal: thats ok thanks again
    AOLTechKTN: Thank you, have a good afternoon. :)
  • "AOL" stands for what? America OnLine. Guess what? You can't trademark and acronym.
  • IMO, african-american is 1 word, and would thus logically be abbreviated to an 'A'. Now if the hyphen wasn't there... but it is..

    //rdj
  • The DNS's in the headers are wrong.

    How does this make AOL a blocker? This is a DNS error, nothing more.

    I applaud your use of free advertising, though...
  • NSI logged onto your server and deleted your files???

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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