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Bank of America Buying Abusive Domain Names 249

Posted by timothy
from the get-out-your-thesaurus dept.
Nite_Hawk writes "Bank of America has snapped up hundreds of abusive domain names for its senior executives and board members in what is being perceived as a defensive strategy against the future publication of damaging insider info from whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. According to Domain Name Wire, the US bank has been aggressively registering domain names including its board of directors' and senior executives' names followed by 'sucks' and 'blows.'"
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Bank of America Buying Abusive Domain Names

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  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:59PM (#34654772)
    Good luck grabbing every possible abusive word and all variations. "Sucks" is hardly the only word in existence that can be used to mean you smoke cock or gobble knob.
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:06PM (#34654844) Journal

      I don't even think it matters.

      Honestly, if people can't start up "xSucks.com" they'll go and register something like "truthX" and spew their hate there.

      By trying to keep from them from abusive and probably discreditable domain names, you're probably just going to push them into ones that will cause wider contraversy.

      Let's start a nice slow golf clap for the Bank of America.

      • By trying to keep from them from abusive and probably discreditable domain names, you're probably just going to push them into ones that will cause wider contraversy.

        I disagree, as does Ms. Streisand [wikipedia.org]

        Oh wait...

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:29PM (#34655026)

        Considering their motive is indirect censorship and their target market that they wish would not see the offending material is amongst the veritable hordes of Facebook/Twitter/MySpace zombies out there this is incredibly stupid.

        URL shortener exist for a reason. It makes posting to Facebook and Twitter that much easier. Not to mention, it would be pretty hard for BoFA to prevent people from forming Facebook groups.

        Domain names are just one of the ways we use to communicate locations, and find them, on the Internet now.

        Foolish and a waste of money.

        • by Tynin (634655)

          Considering their motive is indirect censorship and their target market that they wish would not see the offending material is amongst the veritable hordes of Facebook/Twitter/MySpace zombies out there this is incredibly stupid.

          URL shortener exist for a reason. It makes posting to Facebook and Twitter that much easier. Not to mention, it would be pretty hard for BoFA to prevent people from forming Facebook groups.

          Domain names are just one of the ways we use to communicate locations, and find them, on the Internet now.

          Foolish and a waste of money.

          Foolish and a waste of money to most people. However to a multi-billion $ empire, spending a few bills on a couple of domain names is nothing if it stops even a handful of people from stumbling onto something that they think would harm their image. This is risk prevention/avoidance at a very low cost. That said, I completely agree with you.

      • by byuu (1455609)

        Honestly, if people can't start up "xSucks.com" they'll go and register something like "truthX" and spew their hate there.

        The owner of sucks.com should start selling subdomain redirects for $~3/yr.

        • interestingly the owner of sucks.com doesn't seem to be using it for anything (whois doesn't even list any nameservers for the domain)

      • by Tuoqui (1091447)

        Yep or you'll end up with xSucksSucksSucks.com

    • by ShaunC (203807)

      Indeed, BrianMoynihanVacuumsRoosters.com looks available.

      • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:47PM (#34655194) Homepage Journal
        It would be an interesting sort of crowd-sourced protest, if a lot of aggrieved people bought abusive domains and pointed them at a protest site existing pretty much specifically to collect them.

        Domain registrars would make a mint off of such a protest...and it would be much more 'socially acceptable' than your typical DDoSing.

        First registrar to announce splitting the proceeds of such actions with, say, Child's Play or the Red Cross could gain instant credibility with a large segment of the abusive-domain-buying public.

        Further, it would sap the banks' resources as their PR people frantically attempt to mitigate the consequences of the protests. Now that we know they'll preemptively buy domains, too, it provides interesting opportunities for cybersquatting...
    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:21PM (#34654976) Homepage

      The really insidious strategy would be to register , and actually run your *sucks site, allowing user generated content, but with subtle manipulation and censorship, making it the number one destination for haters.

      Er, hope I didn't just give anyone ideas.

    • The domain is really secondary to content, because when people search, the search looks at pretty much everything other than the domain name. Silly (criminally rich) bankers.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Hope they did 'sux' and 'blowz' as well...

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Good luck grabbing every possible abusive word and all variations.

      Truly. I'm betting that we can come up with more than a few doozies that BOA didn't register yet.

      This may well end up in a variation on the Streisand Effect, with people going that extra mile to defeat BOA's attempt to stifle criticism after they well and thoroughly fucked people all across the US, Canada and Europe.

      But I think this may be only the beginning for the largest transnational corporations shoring up their defenses ahead of the gr

      • by NoMaster (142776)

        Truly. I'm betting that we can come up with more than a few doozies that BOA didn't register yet.

        BrianMoynihanIsAThievingCunt.com, for one...

  • OTOH... (Score:5, Funny)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:59PM (#34654778)
    Maybe they're just preparing themselves for some future "truth in lending" legislation.
  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:59PM (#34654782) Homepage

    Yesterday [boingboing.net] it was noted that they can do this but getting all of those available will exceed their available cash. Seems like a waste of time and energy.

    • Yeah, did they also register *bl0ws? *blo.ws? *sux.ck?

      • Those three along with criminalbankdouchebagsonthelooseagainohfuckme.com and .net.

        • by fracai (796392)

          Not .org? I suppose they would leave that out as they aren't a non-profit and are strict about these sorts of things.

    • Given the fact that every time their Liabilities exceed their Assets the Federal Reserve steps in and either buys up their assets at higher than market value or allows them to forgo the mark to market rules, I don't think this will be a problem for them. They essentially have an unlimited cash supply.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:20PM (#34655470) Homepage Journal

      I'm proud to report that a friend of mine grabbed http://www.bankofamericasucks.org/ [bankofamericasucks.org] before BoA got to it. Currently it's just a redirect to an IT World article, but oh, the possibilities ... especially since she works for a hosting company.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      If all the slashdotters each go register ONE domain name, they will have to resort to using those robosigners from the mortgage department to send a cease and desist letter to all of them.

  • >> According to Domain Name Wire, the US bank has been aggressively registering domain names including its board of Directors' and senior executives' names followed by "sucks" and "blows."'

    I wonder if they also covered the Director and senior executive names - sucksandblows dot whatever... Or how about name-lovestheshaft dot whatever...

    What a colossal waste of money, as an investor I am pissed-off at this idiotic attempt at censorship.
  • Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#34654786)

    The nearly endless variety of insulting phrases that begin with [name] [verb] [...] makes it impractical to register more than a tiny proportion of them, and no matter how extensive, it's easy to think of alternatives.

    [name]stealsyourmoney.com comes to mind in the context of BoA long before it would occur to me to register [name]sucks.com, much less [name]sucksass.com, [name]sucksthebigone.com, and -- in the spirit of Bill Hicks -- [name]suckssatansscalycock.com.

    • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beerdood (1451859) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:35PM (#34655080)
      Exactly.. People aren't going to type in "bankofamericasucks.com" or "BOA-blows.com" into their URL. They're going to google for scam related information, making this domain buying completely useless. The exact URL is completely meaningless.

      Go google "scientology" as an example. The 3rd result is "xenu.net" - a site who's sole purpose is to bring down the COS. Didn't need the word "scientology" anywhere in that URL.
      • Re:Pointless (Score:4, Informative)

        by Beerdood (1451859) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:48PM (#34655198)

        Exactly.. People aren't going to type in "bankofamericasucks.com" or "BOA-blows.com" into their URL. .

        Ok... so I just realized that bankofamericasucks.com actually goes to a gripe site for the bank... so uh, I guess if people still type this in, they'll still go to a gripe site by typing in the most obvious URL anyway!! Makes this whole venture seem even more ridiculous!

  • by a Flatbed Darkly (1964478) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:01PM (#34654804)
    There's astounding variety in dyslogistics; humanity's capacity to insult extends far beyond the simple "x sucks", "y blows", and often enters far more explicit territory. What makes them think that "sucks" and "blows" are the preferred verbal weapon of the domain-registering masses? If anything, this will only cause a rise in popularity of other insulting verbs.
  • I can imagine the board meeting where the idea was thrown out: Corp Douche 1: "They're going to be angry when they learn about the kind of things we've done. They're probably going to write letters and e-mails and setup 'BoASucks.com'." Corp Douche 2: "Well, we can ignore the mail. But websites? Oh my... the web! I hear there's a lot of people there and they say mean things about us! We can't let them do that!" Corp Douche 3: "We can cut them off at the knees! Let's buy up all the 'sucks' and 'blows'
  • Unless... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:10PM (#34654874) Journal
    BOA is a bunch of angels compared to the rest of the financial community, they should probably be investing in security rather than PR...

    There is a steady stream of "$PERSON$ loses job/house, kills family, self, occasionally neighbors and/or a cop or two" stories in the US. Given the number of dodgy forclosures BOA is believed to be involved in, including some cases where they didn't even own the loan, or where there was no loan, I could easily imagine some of their more visible people becoming part of dissatisfied customers' blood drenched exits.

    The really high level guys probably already take precautions; but a bank the size of BOA probably has a lot of fat around the middle...
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Quiet man! You're speaking sense here, actual security? FOB's? What? You're insane!

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "There is a steady stream of "$PERSON$ loses job/house, kills family, self, occasionally neighbors and/or a cop or two" stories in the US."

      The US is vast, has hundreds of millions of citizens, and with those odds there will ALWAYS be delectable, mediagenic tragedy to sell the public.

      Revenge? Americans are sheep. Europeans too, though the example of Alfred Herrhausen shows how vulnerable even protected persons are to attack (and the method, if used with a modern EFP lens design encased in the usual pipe, is

  • Waste of time... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hellkyng (1920978) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:10PM (#34654876)

    This is like putting buckets over your flowers in advance of a hurricane...while living in New Orleans.

    On the other hand it is really interesting they are scared enough about the Wikileaks release to take these fairly absurd measures. I wonder what public opinion of Wikileaks will be like if they expose some serious corruption in a major bank.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:15PM (#34654924)

    How could a person or group express an opinion that would get the highest possible google rank when a person searches for BoA?
    That is what this is all about, isn't it?

  • by mikeb39 (670045) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#34654936) Homepage
    This seems to be pretty close to admitting that their senior execs have done things that would cause public outrage. Seems like a smarter strategy would have been just to shut up completely about it until seeing what these leaks actually contain. But, I suppose if you know beyond a doubt you will be proven guilty and held to account for something, you might as well prepare for it.
    • by causality (777677) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:23PM (#34654990)

      This seems to be pretty close to admitting that their senior execs have done things that would cause public outrage. Seems like a smarter strategy would have been just to shut up completely about it until seeing what these leaks actually contain. But, I suppose if you know beyond a doubt you will be proven guilty and held to account for something, you might as well prepare for it.

      There is one prepatory step that will apparently never occur to them: admit they have done wrong, identify the people they have wronged, make it right by giving them full compensation, and document that they have done so.

      • by ring-eldest (866342) <ring_eldest@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:35PM (#34655086)

        There is one prepatory step that will apparently never occur to them: admit they have done wrong, identify the people they have wronged, make it right by giving them full compensation, and document that they have done so.

        That's a sucker's bet. These people are PROFESSIONALS. They'll go with the tried-and-true method and round up some scapegoats, of course.

        • by causality (777677)

          These people are PROFESSIONALS.

          Sure. They're just like our politicians: the best that money can buy.

      • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:59PM (#34656128) Homepage

        Listening to folks like the commenters here, it is clearly impossible for BofA to do this - everyone who owns a home has been impacted by Countrywide. If their home wasn't financed through Countrywide their neighbor's was and the drop in value of their neighbor's home tanked their home's value.

        Roughly, according to National Association of Realtors, there are about 80 million single-family homes [answers.com] in the US today. The average value of all of these homes was around $170,000 and is now more like $100,000. Just having BofA pay every homeowner in the US $70,000 - all 80 million of them - would be 5.6 trillion dollars. If you blame banks for this mess, that is about what it would take. They don't have it.

        One flaw with this is the banks may have participated, but the real problem is the bond rating agencies like Moody's. They are the ones that rated bonds backing subprime mortgages as AAA investment-grade bonds. Those bonds were then invested in by pension funds, municipalities and school districts. We haven't seen all of these bonds default yet, but they are going to - because the underlying mortgages are valueless and the rating agencies knew it. That pretty much means a lot of bankrupt pension funds, municipalities and school districts. Anyone that invested in AAA bonds exclusively is likely to get hit with this.

        We haven't even seen the beginning of the collapse yet, but it is coming.

      • by Required Snark (1702878) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @08:53PM (#34656568)
        These are medieval hierarchies, so the protection of the individuals is automatically assumed to be identical to the protection of the company. They will allow untold damage to the organization to protect the leadership.

        This was true in Paulson's financial bailout as well. No major CEO, board member or other major player was held accountable or lost their job, or has even been named in public as doing something wrong. For example, the ratings agencies, who clearly failed all their legal fiduciary requirements have been completely ignored.

        So far the only big player who has faced any legal action is Earnst and Young, the accounting firm for Lehman Bros. They are accused of helping Lehman avoid disclosure of their weak financial condition by a trick known as "Repo 105". E&Y is being sued by Cuomo in New York State, not by the Feds. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/22/business/la-fi-ernst-young-20101222 [latimes.com]

        The Feds have done almost nothing looking for illegal behavior among the financial elites. Their recent "big announcement" was about going after illegal insider information trading, mostly in the high tech sector. This is about as far from the financial meltdown as you can get and still be pretending that Wall St. is involved.

        This is why the WikiLeaks dump of (most likely) BofA is so important. It will show massive wrong doing and that the Feds are consciously ignoring massive criminal activity on the part of the banks. It has the potential to change the public perception and possible change how these institutions are being regulated. One can always hope.

        This is why trying to buy up domain names is so lame. This is going to be so meaningless if even part of the truth comes out.

        And by the way, in the medieval hierarchy, anyone who reads this is a pesent.

      • The problem with this strategy is that as soon as you admit wrongdoing of any sort, there will be tons of people crawling out of the woodwork who were not actually wronged but who claim they were, just so they can get a wad of cash.

      • by giorgist (1208992)
        Hehe ... too expensive. Look at every police movie, the final punch line is that the acused confesses so the movie can end.
        Evidence is just hard work.

        So under fear confessing to 1000 things and paying for them might cost a bit too much.

        Wikileaaks might just be about the CEO screwing the CFO and both are married men.

        G
      • They don't have the money. Former hi-ups in the company have stated under oath that 60 to 80 percent of the mortgages they issued were not documented properly, and thus would not be able to be collected on. If one of these emails reveals that the bank had a plan to make money by passing these mortgages on to investors without revealing that they were bad. The entire bank's balance sheet will suddenly drop into the red.

  • BrianMoynihanIsADick.com is still available. They'd need to register thousands and thousands of names, not just a couple hundred.
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:34PM (#34655076) Journal

    Instead of trying to silence criticism, how about resolving problems people have with your institution?

  • For each $NAME in @EXECS
    $NAMEsucks.com
    $NAMEblows.com
    (repeat for org, net, etc)

    Ok, whew! I think we got them all!

    $NAMEsucksass.com
    $NAMEsucksshit.com
    (repeat for anything else to suck: goats, whatever, just stay on the legal side and don't make a claim that could be claimed in court to be slander/libel)
    $NAME_is_a_fuckwit.com

    Honestly, I could keep going. People don't just type names in and add sucks and see what comes up, but if one of these execs is caught doing something illegal you can bet that appropriate

  • by IceFox (18179) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:48PM (#34655202) Homepage
    Someone suggests that it is because their customers are finding out about the domain bankofamericasucks.com which has a forum and existing comments by customers and employees.
  • ...there's a clever move., ihatebofa.com, or bofasux.net, or bofarobberbarons.org, or...
  • After all some people swear in French, German, etc. Maybe even Pig Latin!

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Ah, there you're wrong. They're Bank of America. Americans don't speak other languages...
  • Taking Sites Down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theamarand (794542) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:15PM (#34655434) Homepage

    I have personally experienced the taking-down of sites and content by ISPs which were legally bullied (cease and desist orders) by large companies to make the site/content go away. It's possible that for every one site/piece of content that I've seen taken down outside of due process, short-circuiting the burden of proof, there may be many other sites where the ISP referred the matter to a legal department and determined that it was just corporate bullying, and took no action.

    In my personal experience, when a big company threatens to take action against a smaller company, unless it's a high-profile case that the EFF is willing to tackle, the smaller company seems to fold and remove the site/content. It simply costs too much to battle it out in court, so the big guy often wins.

    Does anyone have any experience with a smaller company telling a larger company to go suck eggs and successfully fighting a suit or threat to sue? Maybe I'm just cynical....

    • by Legion303 (97901)

      My old sysadmin told the MPAA to pound sand when they sent a blanket DMCA takedown notice to him for DeCSS, which at the time was not hosted on my site, along with a warning that even linking to search engine results for the file would result in a lawsuit (bizarrely, since I had never done this). After he did that, I followed up with their law firm directly, pointing them to my new page full of DeCSS links and telling them if they wanted to test their theory in court they could. I re-sent that on the one-ye

  • I thought you couldnt use naughty language in the ICANN name system?

      Domain Name: FUCKBRIANMOYNIHAN.COM
                Created on: 22-Dec-10
                Expires on: 22-Dec-11
                Last Updated on: 22-Dec-10

    brianmoynihanisadickhead.com is still up for grabs though

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:01PM (#34655788) Homepage

    What I don't understand is why they think this is even necessary in the new world we just entered a month or so ago.

    Why should they have to buy up domain names?

    Why not just have their friends at Visa/Mastercard deny the ability of anyone to buy a domain name which could (potentially) be used to engage in "illegal activities"?

    Or have their friends in Obama's office of imaginary rights enforcement [cybercrime.gov] seize the domains for trafficking in stolen property?

    Or have the host (Amazon or whoever) drop the websites? Paypal refuse service? EveryDNS drop the domain records [google.com]?

  • Whoever decided to do this doesn't understand the way language works. If an 'abusive' name doesn't exist or is unavailable people will just ascribe new meaning to an existing word or invent a new word that gets incorporated into a new name. Businesses often buy up domain names in the hope of a site being popular on its name alone. But the most popular websites often have made up names that didn't previously exist in everyday language. Bottom line -- it's the content that makes a site popular, not the name.
  • Discourage people from getting fired or going to work for a competitor.

  • someone gets the idea to add "goats" to the end of everything they just registered.
  • If they had the tiniest bit of courage and honour left, they'd just come clean with whatever the nasty bits are. That would also leave them in control of the story. But no, they'll probably put their PR people into overdrive to spin it once it's out, and until than hang on to the hope that it might not happen.

    I'll be waiting for it. I doubt our collective opinion of banks could get any worse than it is, but let's hope that one or two of them come crashing down - as they should've instead of being bailed out

    • If they had the tiniest bit of courage and honour left, they'd just come clean with whatever the nasty bits are.

      They're probably betting Wikileaks doesn't have all the nasty bits.

  • It appears that Bank of America has absolute confidence in its senior management. On one hand, I can sort of see why they would do this for all their executives; if they singled out anyone it'd be kind of an admission of guilt. But this way, they're sending the message that their entire upper management level is corrupt.

  • Back in 2000, the magazine 2600 tried to register VerizonSucks.com and found that it was already registered to Verizon, along with 100 variations. So they registered VerizonReallySucks.com and were doing fine until Verizon sued them. [slashdot.org]

  • They're going to have to fight snookie for skankofamerica.example.com
  • This isn't a defensive measure against anything. Everyone at Bank Off, America is just getting a special Christmas present this year.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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