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TBTF for 1995-09-03: Political Satire, Internet Style

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Sun, 3 Sep 1995 16:30:07 -0400



In this newsletter I try to bring you timely news of developments that affect the developing infrastructure of Internet commerce. The sources are mostly online -- mailing lists, newsletters, and my own experiences on the Net, including recently as a webmaster. The print media I read rarely carry articles close enough to the cutting edge of online life for reporting here. James Gleick provides an exception in today's New York Times Magazine (for the full text see <http://www.around.com/dirtytricks.html>.) Gleick shows up twice in this TBTF; see below.

Gleick reports in an article titled "dirtytricks@campaign96.org" that of the nine Web pages up on the net for announced or putative 1996 presidential candidates, three are bogus. (By my count it's at least four.) Gleick tracks down the 25-year-old software test developer in California, Brooks Talley, who has put up a spoof page for Bob Dole at <http://www.dole96.org/>. (Talley is associated with a VAR in Belmont, CA called Action Systems Inc.) He was able to register this name because InterNIC, the Internet Network Information Center, still gives out domain names on a first-request basis and does not insist on checking the identity of the requestor.

In all Talley has registered domains for -- and put up Web pages for -- the following bogus organizations. The Web pages all interlink and point to genuine outside pages in amusing ways: for example the various conspiracy pages link to <http://www.microsoft.com/>.

<http://www.buchanan96.org/>,
<http://www.clinton96.org/>,
<http://www.dole96.org/>,
<http://www.limbaugh96.org/>,
<http://www.wilson96.org/>;

<http://www.conspiracy.org/>,
<http://www.illuminati.org/>,
<http://www.trilateral.com/>;

<http://www.gates96.org/>.

The names were registered with InterNIC in April, July, and August of this year. The most recently registered domain is gates96.org, which took effect on August 22. At the moment its associated web page is that of Talley's employer. One may assume that Talley was inspired by the Windows 95 hoopla to propose a Bill Gates run for the White House, and that a Gates campaign page will appear shortly.

The next article reports that changes were already in the wind for the InterNIC. I expect Gleick's article to fan the flames considerably. The political gentlemen parodied -- and inconvenienced -- by Mr. Talley's actions probably don't share his fine appreciation for political satire nor appreciate the freewheeling culture of the Internet.


A quick addendum. I sent a courtesy copy of the 1995-09-03 number to Brooks Talley, not expecting a reply, and received the following twelve minutes later. He's being scrupulous to keep Action Systems Inc. out of the line of whatever fire he draws.

Hey there. I just got your note that went out to the TBTF mailing list,
and I'd like to ask you to make some corrections.

First, I don't work for action systems. I have no relation to them other
than paying them to house my web pages. They're allready getting in some
hot water over it, so I want it to be clear that the are in no way
responsible for registering the domain names, or the content.

What little organization there is to the pages is, at this point, called
SOL, or satire on-line. But still, that's strictly a hobby and in no way
related to my actual employer, InfoWorld.

The "empty" pages pointing to action's web server was simply an oversight
on my part, which has gotten _me_ into hot water with action. It should
be fixed now.

I would really appreciate it if you would send out a clarification on
this, to keep the facts straight and lessen the chance of harm befalling
Action.

Thanks for the copy of the letter, and I liked the article quite a bit.
Also, look for new web pages in the near future (your list of my domains
just barely scratched the surface :)

Somehow I suspected as much. ;^}


>>From Edupage (1995-08-30):

> WHAT'S IN A NAME?
InterNIC is catching heat for its practice of issuing
Internet addresses on what's essentially a first-come-first-served
basis. In addition to numerous squabbles over who has the most right to
an address such as "bob.com"...InterNIC found itself named in a trademark
lawsuit when it issued the name "knowledgenet.com" to a computer consult-
ant without knowing that there was a Knowledgenet company in Illinois.
InterNIC officials are considering implementing some type of encryption,
so that they can verify who's requesting changes in domain registration
(up till now, they've operated on faith), and charging a nominal annual
fee to maintain a .com address. The fee will probably be less than $100
a year and could be enacted in the next few months. (San Jose Mercury
News 28 Aug 95)


The Internet Millionaires' List

Who's making money on the Internet today? The president of a market research firm based in Falls Church, VA, has developed The Internet Millionaires List (<http://www.webcom.com/~walsh/milldet.html>). Mike Walsh's list tracks the market value of Internet-related public companies and the holdings of their major shareholders.

The six Internet companies that have gone public so far had a total market value on Aug. 25 of $4.53 billion, and the people on the List owned $3.57 billion in stock.

Jim Clark leads the list; the CEO of Netscape holds about half a billion in Netscape stock. Marc Andreesen, the inventor of both Netscape and Mosaic, has $51 million. And James Gleick appears on the list at $35.6 million -- he developed the Internet access provider Pipeline, which was sold to Performance Systems International, which went public.


>>Sources:

>>Edupage -- mail listproc@educom.edu without subject
> and with message: subscribe edupage <your name> .


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______________________________________________________
Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.