May 3, 2002
8:31 AM   Subscribe

Dean Allen of textism, calls for a Google bomb to be dropped on Verisign. He's out to save Hoopla... and in the process, perhaps all the sites which have been stolen as Verisign slept. Think it will work? Will you join in the fight?
posted by silusGROK (49 comments total)
I'll do whatever Dean Allen tells me to do.
posted by jennyb at 8:41 AM on May 3, 2002

i've had my share of problems with Verisign. i don't care for Verisign much at all.
posted by Dom at 8:48 AM on May 3, 2002

I kind of wish this campaign was separated out into its disparate parts. If it is indeed about saving Hoopla, I'd like to see it being initiated by Leslie on her own new webspace. If it is about bashing Verisign/NetSol, I'd like to see more background info, info about other domain hijacking such as succaland, and have it be a more formal presentation than a weblog entry format.
posted by machaus at 8:50 AM on May 3, 2002

I will join in the fight.
posted by ftrain at 8:56 AM on May 3, 2002

I already have. Help, won't you?
posted by me3dia at 9:00 AM on May 3, 2002

Why not.
posted by adampsyche at 9:00 AM on May 3, 2002

Ummm... you'd think that he could take the time to provide some better content to link to before lighting the fuse. What's there now doesn't present much info and probably makes very little sense to someone who isn't already familiar with the situation.
posted by sad_otter at 9:01 AM on May 3, 2002

Here's some context. And some more.
posted by me3dia at 9:15 AM on May 3, 2002

Leslie's comments about her ordeal with Verisign can be found here. She doesn't give many details, but it does seem like it's more about saving Hoopla.
posted by klingler at 9:17 AM on May 3, 2002

I'd have to concur... I'd really like to see a little more context in that link. A little more shrapnel in the Google bomb, as it were.
posted by silusGROK at 9:33 AM on May 3, 2002

How could googlebombing Verisign "save Hoopla"? We're gonna pressure them? Make them cave? No. They don't give a crap how far and wide we spread the word that they're clueless. They never have before.

I've already done my part on my site---not because I think it'll help Leslie in any tangible way, but because 1) people need to know to avoid them so they don't have to deal with the same crap, and 2) if enough people avoid their crap, maybe Verisign will implode, which would make me smile. But mostly it's about 1), for me.

I remember back in the day when we all hoped that a little competition would encourage NetSol to locate a clue, but it never happened. The best-known example of their ineptitude dates from 1994---the hijacking. Don't make the mistake of thinking NetSol's incompetence and lack of give-a-shit is restricted to relatively small-beans personal sites---they can and cheerfully will destroy your hundred-million-dollar-a-year online business, too.

But yes---if it were me orchestrating this offensive, I'd make that page extremely clean and easy-to-follow. Bullet points, is what we're talking about. Stupid-proof---so that even TV reporters and Verisign employees can understand it.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2002

yeah, i'm all for linking, but the article he's referecing blows. simply put, any of the "stock analysts, potential investors, journalists and (apparently) lowly domain registrants" that arrive at this page after googling verisign are just gonna think it's a mistake. there is nothing on the page that would make me read it from a quick glance. (which is all the time that my search link clicks get). if he's gonna take the trouble to expose verisign with a google bomb, he should make the page more relevant to a search for verisign.
posted by dobbs at 9:50 AM on May 3, 2002

I will not do this.
posted by corpse at 9:59 AM on May 3, 2002

posted by dogwelder at 10:02 AM on May 3, 2002

Is it correct to say that domains can or have been *only* hijacked from Verisign?
posted by BentPenguin at 10:03 AM on May 3, 2002

Presumably domains have been hijacked from other registrars, but it would be correct to say that Verisign is the worst offender, simply because they've lost so many.

For those who want more background on Verisign's collossal ineptitude, try this clearing house.
posted by blissbat at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2002

quonsar, of everlasting blort, called for this last week. this dean allen d00d must be some sort of a-lister, huh?
posted by quonsar at 10:18 AM on May 3, 2002

MetaFilter: Six Degrees of A-List Resentment.

Dean acted as the Disembodied Voice Of Leslie while she was between websites, and also has had previous success in googlebombing endeavors. He seems a logical choice to play ringleader in this instance.
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:24 AM on May 3, 2002

tongue is, as usual, firmly in cheek here, Sapphireblue!
posted by quonsar at 10:27 AM on May 3, 2002

if this has any chance of success, the page that is linked to should at least have a very very visible headline saying something about the ineptitude of versign. If it were me searching for verisign, I wouldn't stick around to read the tiny text and figure out exactly why I ended up at that site...
posted by jnthnjng at 10:45 AM on May 3, 2002

I wouldn't stick around to read the tiny text and figure out exactly why I ended up at that site.
me either. i'd go, ah crap, another designerblog with teensy unreadable text, and move along. perhaps, if enough people comment, this particular designerblog with teensy unreadable text will create something a bit more noticable than his typical designerblog with teensy unreadable text page for the present purpose.
posted by quonsar at 10:55 AM on May 3, 2002

posted by textist at 10:58 AM on May 3, 2002

yea, it could be better, too late now though.
posted by rhyax at 11:00 AM on May 3, 2002

I think Verisign sucks.
posted by ktheory at 11:12 AM on May 3, 2002

Has anyone tried to get the good folks over at Wired interested in this situation? Seems like something they might cover, if not in their print issue, then at least online.
posted by gutenberg at 11:19 AM on May 3, 2002

In addition to the official mention of Dean's Verisign campaign, I added
<div style="display:none;"><a href="">Verisign</a></div>
to all of my various CMS templates, so that it now shows up on every archive page I've got. Fuck Verisign.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:20 AM on May 3, 2002

It looks to me like blissbat's NSI Horror Stories site would have been a better choice. Rather than try and get Google visitors to read and care about one Verisign horror story, they could read about many.
posted by pmurray63 at 3:06 PM on May 3, 2002

if people would prefer linking to a page that has more than one example of verisign's rank incompetence and unethical practices they can freely copy and mirror on their own sites. john declared this page public domain after i asked him if i could mirror it.

and i'll likely be starting a "dotster sucks too" page next week, as it looks as tho' i may be their next vicitim... unless they sort out the mess they've created with one of my domain renewals before may 9th.
posted by t r a c y at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2002

say more about that please, tracy. i have a lot of domains at dotster, i'm interested to know. (tried to find an email link for you on your site without luck)
posted by quonsar at 4:19 PM on May 3, 2002

Linking the verisign sucks page (or the NSI Horror Stories page) would be fine if everyone were doing it, but the concept behind google bombing is that there are more Verisign links to a particular site than there are to the red gaping hemorrhoidal dingleberried assholes' home site, thereby putting the alternate site at the top of the google search results. If you look at it that way, linking to NSI Horror Stories is like voting for Nader.

posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:46 PM on May 3, 2002

I'm with SapphireBlue on this one -- I have no problem with the sentiment, I just don't think it has a prayer of working. Hasn't cracked the first 100 Google results yet, though it's early. I suspect it might get somewhere in there for a few days, but this only really works with the weblog "freshness" factor weighing in; and then only with search terms that, well, aren't used all that much. (See Googlewhacking.)

Leslie and other victims should be sure to file complaints with ICANN regarding NetSol's performance as a registrar. It's not a dispute-resolution service, but a way to "track trends". Complaints should be filed with the Better Business Bureau (to the extent that will do any good; people sometimes have an inflated perception of what they actually do, which is pretty much just to tell people if a business has complaints against it), and possibly the FCC and/or FTC as well.

The only thing that's really going to change their behavior is somebody winning a lawsuit including damages. The suit only resulted in them returning the domain -- they weren't held liable in any way. No punishment, no incentive to give a shit about their customers.
posted by dhartung at 4:49 PM on May 3, 2002

i understand the potential futility in linking or mirroring these pages but i have to do something that makes me feel better in the immediate, and since my main domain gets aprox. half a million visitors per year that's a lot of people i can warn. as for my own registrar struggle i'm not going to go into any details in public until the domain's renewal date comes and goes next week. if things go wrong the first thing i'll do is transfer the rest of my domains out of there (providing they allow me to! god) and then of course i'll be filing complaints with the appropriate organizations.

but why not also spread the word via linking and mirroring in the hopes you can help others avoid these problems...? maybe i've gotten my way too often from just stomping my foot but when faced with a problem i'm inclined to do everything possible to make some impact on it, not just the things that seem most sensible.

so. does anyone know if there's such a thing as a registrar that lets you "lock" the transfer process so no one can do it but you, the owner with a password...?
posted by t r a c y at 5:32 PM on May 3, 2002

Just to clarify, the NSI horror stories site isn't mine in any sense but the linking. Useful, but dear god, the graphics. and have both been secure like that for me, tracy.
posted by blissbat at 8:38 PM on May 3, 2002

I have to agree with Dhartung. A serious lawsuit and a sustained PR campaign are probably the only things that would get you the attention of anyone outside of the 'in-crowd' and/or may bring about changes. (as I suggested elsewhere).

Verisign in doing reasonably well and seems to have a stable asset base. They have also proved themselves to be fairly lax and bureacratic in the past. Scattered googlebombing by sites that dont have mainstream brand recognition may not give the kind of results that you are looking for(i.e. if you are looking to make Verisign change its way / make people aware so that they avoid Verisign / ensure that a statistically signifacant percentage of people take their business away from Netsol).
posted by justlooking at 9:45 PM on May 3, 2002

Good idea, terrible execution.
posted by canoeguide at 3:16 AM on May 4, 2002

Just to clarify, I don't have any problem with small text. In fact I love small text and I really like the design of Textism, it's just that I don't think it serves this purpose very well. That is all.
posted by jnthnjng at 9:25 AM on May 4, 2002

Oooh, Gogglebombing!

Yeah, that's going to get the average clueless wanker on the street to pay attention.
posted by mark13 at 10:57 AM on May 4, 2002

Well...its on top of Blogdex at least!
posted by justlooking at 11:17 AM on May 4, 2002

Sooner or later, Google is going to respond to the whole "googlebombing" tactic in some way that winds up being really unpleasant for those of us online.

While I feel for Leslie and the fact that she got swindled, fucking around with the single best resource on the net is just foolish.
posted by Irontom at 1:33 PM on May 4, 2002

I think this is more an experiment to show how easily bloggers can be led around by their noses more than how we're going to give it to Verisign.

baaaaaaaaah! baaah! baaaaaaaaah!
posted by crunchland at 1:42 PM on May 4, 2002

It looks like one of the best options out there is's Domain Lock Down service, for $99/yr per domain. Naturally, it's a value-added service. Seems to be the same as NetSol's own "protected" status.

Some other domain registrars make such promises for straight registration fee.

Just remember that it even happens to the big guys -- only they have better lawyers.
posted by dhartung at 3:28 PM on May 4, 2002

What amazes me about Dan's link is that it's almost two years old, and NetSol hasn't changed anything (except, apparently, to become less cooperative and harder to talk to a human with).
posted by rodii at 6:02 PM on May 4, 2002

Why would the 'the average clueless wanker on the street' care about domain hijacking, and why would we (as some nebulous group of people who do care about it) be bothered if that street-wanker cared or not? Silly rabbit.

(Aside : I've read 4 comments by mark13 in the last 5 minutes here and in MeTa and they've all been extremely unpleasant. Having a bad day, are we?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:41 PM on May 4, 2002

and why would we (as some nebulous group of people who do care about it) be bothered if that street-wanker cared or not?

Because Verisign is a publicly traded company and (I hope) that when the larger public and the market start taking note, Verisign would start taking measures. It is obvious that they dont care much about the bad rep. that they have been getting amongst the personal publishing community.
posted by justlooking at 10:41 PM on May 4, 2002

PS: my statement shouldn't be construed to mean I condone the use of the phrase 'the average clueless wanker
posted by justlooking at 11:22 PM on May 4, 2002

Hm. The "googlebombed" essay at Textism is hardly showing up high in a google search for Verisign as dhartung pointed out. It'd take a hell of a lot of links from some very well-PageRanked blogs to make much of a dent as far as Verisign goes. What is happening is that Textism's PageRank with google is increasing rapidly, as more and more people link to a Textism page. Organising a Googlebomb is a great way of attracting hits and getting higher rankings in search engines, don't ya agree?
posted by jill at 6:38 PM on May 5, 2002

Keep in mind, Google doesn't immediately update their PageRanks, even as they're caching new pages. There's usually a lag, sometimes weeks long.
posted by waxpancake at 7:40 PM on May 5, 2002

when the larger public and the market start taking note

I agree, justlooking, of course, but my deeply-buried point was that most people you meet on the street would just stare at you blankly if you tried to explain why domain-hijacking (particularly personal domains) is important.

It just seems a bit unlikely to me that the general public would ever think much about the issue either way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on May 5, 2002

...but my deeply-buried point was...
hasn't deeply-buried pointing been found to be violating someone's copyright recently? or am i confused?
posted by quonsar at 4:00 AM on May 6, 2002

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