W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > April 1999

Webtechs DNS ownership change risk

From: Lloyd Wood <L.Wood@surrey.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 17:25:04 +0100 (BST)
To: S.Peters@surrey.ac.uk, Tolga Ors <T.Ors@surrey.ac.uk>, lynxdev@browser.org
cc: jakob@useit.com, www-validator@w3.org, risks@CSL.sri.com, help@networksolutions.com, ee71gm@ee.surrey.ac.uk
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.3.95.990408162354.21068N-100000@petra.ee.surrey.ac.uk>
[Stuart points out that the webtechs html validator is now a porn
 site, as DNS ownership has changed. Tolga, you will want to update
 the webtechs links on your pages too; can't think of anyone else
 locally using webtechs on their own pages, but the link in internal
 lynx help:
 strikes me as a currently widespread problem.]

Thanks, Stuart; I've fixed my various links to webtechs; there must be
a lot of links to www.webtechs.com/html-val-svc/ around the web (such
as in every lynx help), and I see the new owners of that name (whois
webtechs.com show they run a large number of other porn sites) are
deliberately redirecting traffic from that URL... 

is probably a better choice than
for most people outside janet, since it's more current.

On DNS reuse, there's Jakob Nielsen's 'why web pages must live forever'
and the article over Paramount's embarassment abstracted under
http://www.useit.com/hotlist/spotlight1999q1.html for Jan 13 1999
gives a previous example of DNS name reuse causing embarrassment - in
that case for IMDB surfers who were surprised by what came up from
links to sites whose names were previously registered for film sites.

I hadn't heard of the www.groveartmusic.com case, but I see it's
owned by the same jader 'virtual domain buyers' people who bought
webtechs. Fie on them. How many names do they own?

We're going to see more of this... DNS names must live forever!
I'd suggest that a DNS registration that lapses should be reassigned
to an empty webserver that just spits out 'Not Found' for several
months as a help to people linking to the site, before the name is

I've no idea who exactly at Network Solutions to take this
up with, and since the 'help' link on http://www.networksolutions.com/
(hard-to-read fixed-width design IMO) is a javascript-only call, I
have  no burning desire to find out. 




---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 16:05:40 +0100
From: Stuart Peters <S.Peters@surrey.ac.uk>
To: L.Wood@surrey.ac.uk
Subject: Indecent material on your web site!

Below are excerpts from a thread on the eLib mail list.  I thought I'd
point out that you currently sport a link to Webtech at:


The original site is mirrored at:


...and you can change the link to this!

best wishes,
Stuart Peters

lis-elixirs may be interested to know about the domain www.webtechs.com
which used to host a popular HTML validation service (which was mirrored at
HENSA).  Apparently the domain name lapsed, and has now been taken over by a
porn site.  Many HTML purists included a "HTML valid" icon on their pages
which linked back to webtechs and certain versions of the analog software
included the pointer its output.

AltaVista enables you to check links.  There are 4287 links to
www.webtechs.com from pages within uk.ac.   I suggest eLib projects go to
Alta Vista and enter the search term:

link:http://www.webtechs.com/ host:xxx.ac.uk

replacing xxx by their domain name.
Re webtechs:
I suspect we'll see more of this kind of thing.
A few weeks ago we removed http://www.groveartmusic.com/
from the BUBL LINK database as it is also now a porn site.
Originally it was provided by MacMillan Publishing, giving details of
Grove's Dictionaries of Music and Dictionary of Art, including sample articles.
> I work on the Macmillan Reference website which used to own the
> groveartmusic.com url. Unfortunately, our registration this url
> lapsed when we stopped using it last year. Since then it has been
> purchased by a Dutch company for pornographic purposes.

[whois groveartmusic.com suggests they're Danish... L.]

> Obviously this means that there are many websites containing this link
> who believe that they are actually linking to Grove Dictionaries of Music.
> The new url is www.grovemusic.com.
> We are currently attempting to contact as many websites as possible that
> contain the old url to update to the new one. As you can appreciate
> this is a very time consuming and difficult task.
> Too much noise?  Why not simply get your link checker to look for the word
> 'sex' in each page it pulls, do a manual check on any hits and maintain a
> list of known exemptions.  (And do your link checking via the JWCS to keep
> your first level links in the cache).

That'll only deal with sites that transmogrify into porno sites and
mention the word sex somewhere on their introductory page.  I think the
porn merchants are on the "bleeding edge" of this particular innovation
but how long before the "make money fast", "promote your website better",
"stocks you should be investing in", etc spam-meisters do the same?  The
list of keywords and exceptions could grow pretty quick.
Stuart Peters, Dept of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH,
United Kingdom.  Tel: +44 (0)1483 259292 Fax: +44 (0)1483 259551

Electronic Publishing Resource Service - EPRESS   http://www.epress.ac.uk/
Received on Thursday, 8 April 1999 12:25:17 UTC

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