February 28, 2014 - 12:10 PM
PENTICTON -- The Naramata fire department thought it was cutting costs by letting an old website domain lapse, but didn't realize the porn industry would be making money off it.
In 2012, Naramata’s volunteer fire department stopped operating on its own website, and transferred to the free page set up on the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s official site.
It was a cost-saving and protective measure so if an issue like this arose, the regional district would have the volunteer group’s back, said Karla Kozakevich, a Naramata board director.
Domain-takeover is becoming a more common practice. One reason businesses buy old domain names is because the domains already have an internet search history, which can lead to the business getting more hits from people who are searching for, in this example, the Naramata fire department.
It’s an easy way to redirect traffic for a year or so before letting it go and repeating the process with another domain, said Andrew Stuckey, regional district spokesperson.
Businesses also buy old domain names to sell back to the original holder. In this case, the pornography site that took over Naramata Fire Rescue can try to sell the domain name back to the Fire Department now that they’ve been found out.
“It’s like legal blackmail,” said Stuckey. “They got burned.”
The regional district is working to sever any existing links to the old website.
To contact the reporter for this story, e-mail Meaghan Archer at email@example.com, or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014