Aardvark Daily
Domain name abuse a global problem
Copyright © 1997 to Bruce Simpson, syndication rights available
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5 Feb 1998

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Recent events such as the registration of local domain names such as proz.ac.nz and hack.school.nz have created concern amongst some Net users but New Zealand is not alone in its annoyance over the lack of moderation in some areas. In the USA, the White House has expressed its displeasure over the use of the domain whitehouse.com by a porn merchant.

Relying on the "near-miss" principle, a technique that has exploits the bad memory or poor typing skills of Net users by using names that are similar to other very popular sites. There are already a number of near-miss domains in use including internic.com, Yahhoo.com and last year during the coverage of the Mars Pathfinder mission, the site at jpl.nasa.org scored a huge number of visits from people who were actually looking for the official NASA site - although it was subsequently removed.

In the case of the whitehouse.com site however, the operators are said to be relying on more than just a near-miss. Visitors to the site have reported seeing faked images of Hillary Clinton with whip and chains with subtle references to the recent allegations about her husband's infidelity.

Several schools have complained that the genuine White House Web site at www.whitehouse.gov is regularly used by school children for research and that this near-miss domain could expose these children to pornographic images.

Operator of the porn site, Dan Parisi, has received correspondence from the White House in which they express concern, not over the use of the domain name per se, but over the use of the White House and Hillary Clinton's likeness as a marketing tool.

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