Sorry I never answered this. I'm not really sure what the deal is, but I know a little.

A whois lookup on the domain gives this result. I wish I had tried this before. There are 2 important pieces of information here. One is the domain servers, which point to machines in the domain. Astraweb is a web hosting company. Apparently, from their front page, they use the FreeBSD operating system (plus Apache on intel hardware.) The second piece of information from the whois page is that the database was last updated on 16-Nov-2001 (yesterday.) That's why I wish I had looked earlier.

Now, if we check what the site is running using the handy netcraft what's that site running? feature we can see that something strange did happen. Remember that the whois above pointed us to the FreeBSD running Astraweb. The netcraft results contain a bit of history. At the bottom of that page you can see that as of 4 november 2000, was running on a FreeBSD machine in a netblock owned by Astraweb. But then on 13 november 2001 it was changed to a Windows 2000 machine in a netblock owned by USinternetworking. I'm guessing this change resulted in the screw up involving the american cancer society. I'm also guessing that the changes recorded in the whois as being made yesterday (nov. 16) are even now propogating throughout the system. Probably by Monday most people will be seeing the correct site again (that's my guess.)

But as to why this change was made, it's hard to say. The DNS can be cracked. So it could have been a malicious change to the DNS records made a third party. Why they would point it at the American Caner Society I do not know (you'd think if it was malicious they would point it at a porn site, or a rival animation site, or at something that seemed funny.) Or it could have been a legitimate error.

Tom's theory of domain snatching by the ACS is possible, in one sense. There are lots of cases where big companies have wrested domains from small owners. And the internet governing bodies seem more and more reluctant to go against big business in these matters. But this situation doesn't feel like that. They just convene some committe and decide in a more above board way. But the big interest has to have some claim to the name. Anipike? Does that have anything to do with the ACS? Doesn't seem like it to me.

As for the scenario where "started using it and found out ACS had it in reserve," this couldn't happen. If ACS had registered the domain already then anipike wouldn't have had anyway to register it themselves. If anipike was ever using that domain (as we know they were) then they have that domain. ACS, or any party with deep pockets, could try to gain control through legal arguments involving patent or trademark infringement, but it doesn't seem like that happened here. I think this was just some administrative error, made on the 13th of November, and it looks like it's being corrected as we speak.
- jim 11-17-2001 5:09 pm

Great detective work! Your theory makes sense, especially pinning down the change of server. You're right about the hole in my theory--what does the word "anipike" have to do with cancer? When I encounter an anomaly, I tend to jump to the most paranoid explanation, regardless of whether it jibes with the facts.
- tom moody 11-17-2001 8:27 pm [add a comment]

  • Yeah, but that's only one reason we love you.
    - jim 11-17-2001 8:27 pm [add a comment]

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