What does a company in Bellevue, Wash., want with Rhode Island’s Future?
The pioneering liberal blog disappeared from the Web a few days ago and was replaced with that ubiquitous photo of an attractive young woman with a backpack and a series of links hawking gold and stock options.
International records show the rifuture.org domain name was taken over around 11:30 a.m. Friday by eNom Inc., a Bellevue-based registration service and subsidiary of Demand Media, the infamous content farm that’s one of the major reasons Google is being forced to make large-scale changes to its search engine.
The records say eNom’s ownership of rifuture.org is good until February 2012. [Or does it? See update.]
Brian Hull, who bought Rhode Island’s Future in mid-2009, told me Wednesday he’s working on regaining control of the site’s domain name from eNom and is confident he will succeed, although he doesn’t know how long it will take.
“It will come back,” Hull said. “There’s just some issues I need to try and work out with it.”
This isn’t the first time a popular local blog has temporarily lost its domain name. Anchor Rising went through the same thing a few years ago, though AR contributor Mark Comtois wrote today, ”It appears as if the management over at RIF is having a more difficult time than we did.”
Registration records do not give a live phone number for eNom; phone calls are directed to its Whois Privacy Protection Service division. A call to Whois Privacy Protection’s number led to an answering machine – with a full mailbox – that suggested sending questions to an e-mail address.
I tracked down a phone number for eNom’s office in Bellevue and spoke briefly with a technical support representative there. He was unable to provide further details beyond what the records show, but said he would pass my message along to his supervisor. I’ll update if I get a call back.
Update: Domain Name Wire says the blame for this should fall squarely on Rhode Island’s Future, not eNom:
When you screw up and don’t renew your domain name, just blame the registrar when you talk to the press. …
“Some issues” means Hull needs to pay his bill. Which isn’t mentioned anywhere in the [WPRI.com] article.
It’s also inaccurate that eNom now owns the domain through February 2012. The domain is actually in “Auto Renew Period”, which means the .org registry tacked a year onto the expiration date, not eNom. …
Now, that’s not to say that eNom won’t eventually take this domain and keep it in its portfolio. But don’t blame eNom right now — blame the guy who forgot to renew his domain name.
eNom isn’t the only domain registrar to take attacks like this. The same thing happened when backup service CrashPlan.com forgot to renew its domain at Go Daddy. The company tweeted that Go Daddy “mistakenly removed our root nameserver entry”, “inappropriately took over our DNS”, and did a DNS “hijack”.
Update #2: E. Greenwich firm keeping RIFuture in Web purgatory (March 3)