Old URLs never die

8/4/2002 – ...they become porn sites. The The Seattle Chess Foundation was originally to be reached under, logically, www.seattlechessfoundation.com or .org. Then they changed the name to America's Foundation for Chess and the URL to www.af4c.org, allowing the original to expire. The original URL was snapped up by an aggressive adult site which now greets chess hungry surfers. Before you go investigating this snafu you should read a little more about it here.

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The mission of the Seattle Chess Foundation, now known as the America's Foundation for Chess, is to strengthen the minds and character of young people by advancing chess in our schools and culture. 

The new URL, where you can find out all about the laudatory activities of the AFC is www.af4c.org.

The old domain names were seattlechessfoundation.com/org and expired after the switch to af4c.org. The vacant .com URL was amazingly  snapped up by a pornographic site. "If you happen to come across old links to seattlechessfoundation.com/org,", wrote a worried AFC official, "could you please let the webmaster know about the change. Anything we can do lessen the upset/shock people might encounter by going to our website would be much appreciated!"

We are glad to oblige. However, before you go investigating what now greets chess enthusiasts when they log into the old seattlechessfoundation site, be warned that the porn site located there is fairly aggressive. You will get a lot of automatic pop-ups, including full-screen windows that have no close buttons (use Alt-F4 to get rid of them). If you are not experienced with this kind of thing, our advice to you is – stick to chess!

YouCan’tHandleTheTruth.com

Nearly half of all URLs registered on the Internet will expire, usually because their impulsive or get-rich-quick owners have decided that they were no longer worth the annual registration fees of between $15 and $30. If you want to search through the constantly updated pool of more than fifteen million newly available domain names you can do so at www.DeletedDomains.com. There is a very interesting article on this at Salon.com. Here are some excerpts.

Anyone who who registers a domain name probably has one of two ambitions – to make money (buy this thing from me now!) or to make a point (listen to me now!). From there, all hell breaks loose. Sifting through this virtual detritus uncovers every human emotion – infatuation and disillusion, rage and grief, greed and fear, intolerance and acceptance. There are foolhardy business ideas, unbalanced opinions, political jabs, angry rants, and lunatic suppositions. There is religious fervor and sports zealotry. There are purposeful misspellings and racial slurs. Read through thousands and both the commonality and the originality are striking. The human desire to explore and express is alive -- marvelously flawed though it may be at times.

Some people intended to create the hub for hobbyists like themselves, be they collectors (ICollectBarbies.com, AirForcePatchCollectors.com) or aficionados of lesser-known sports (IPlayCricket.com, ILoveIceFishing.com). The promise of finding people who dance your dance (FoxTrotDenise.com, Love2LineDance.com), drink your drink (BeersILove.com), or appreciate your favorite aquatic species (JellyfishGallery.com, ArtOfCatfish.com, BeckyLovesFrogs.com) can be a siren song. Some online ambitions centered around a TV show (a Seinfeld fan's FestivusMaximus.com, a South Park fan's ImSuperThanksForAsking.com). Or musical act (Mad4Oasis.com, AdorableBritneySpears.com). Or even favorite first and former first-daughters (BarbaraAndJennaBush.com, ILoveChelseaClinton.com).

There are expired URLs for every mood. High-self esteem (DavidIsRight.com and IAmBlessedAndHighlyFavored.com) and low (ISuckAtEverything.com, DontWreckMe.com). Optimistic (ItsMarvelous.com and ImPumped.com) and expecting the worst (ItsNotGoingToHappen.com). There are names for the fed-up (ThatsBullcrap.com), apologetic (HoneySorryIAmWrong.com), self-doubting (SheOnlyLikesMeWhenImHigh.com), self-loathing (IAmABrainDeadMoron.com, IAmBloated.com). There are sympathetic URLs (ItHappensToEveryMan.com) and fanciful ones (ItsSoBig.com). There are obsessive names (IHaveYouInMind.com) and ominous names (ItsLaterThanYouThink.com) and even lactose-intolerant names (DairyNot.com).

We all learn that love doesn't necessarily last forever (even Janelle's beloved, who registered ILoveJanelleForever.com only to set it adrift). And the sorrow and resentment that can result from disaffection often seeks a podium of its own. Such emotion may well have lead to IDislikeRob.com, GordonIsAMoron.com, IHateAdamOliver.com, and HeatherThompsonIsABigDork.com (though the last sounds more like it was registered by Heather's little sister). Though MeganAndAndreaAreLesbians.com may have been intended as a virtual coming-out party, it sounds more like a bulletin board for disgruntled ex-boyfriends. Think that's harsh? For all-out fury -- spent perhaps in the very act of URL registration -- it's hard to beat IHateAndrewSalkeldTheFatUglyGreasyStarTrekLovingWanker.com. If she really wanted to drive the point home, the owner of that inspired URL should have doled out free e-mail addresses to all of her friends (Heather@IHateAndrewSalkeldTheFatUglyGreasyStarTrekLovingWanker.com, for example). It takes a while to type, but talk about your viral marketing.

After a URL lapses, all that remains is a listing in an "expired domains" database, and that for only a few months, before it is purged from the great Internic registry, as if it never existed. But maybe owning the URL, albeit temporarily, was enough. Even before the site is built, a domain name can provide an image, a statement, an insult, a compliment, a joke, a wish, a confession, a meeting ground, and a sales pitch. Why these domain names were registered, what they intended to reveal, remain hidden within their lapsed anonymity. But the lost URLs themselves say what I suspected all along: YouCan’tHandleTheTruth.com, YouCantStopMe.com, YouDontWantToKnow.com, YouHaveNoIdea.com, YoudBeSurprised.com. It could all be true. Just one last question though, for the person who registered I-Love-You-Heather.com. Was it me? Did I do something wrong? How could you let that go?

There is a lot more in the original article at Salon.com.


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