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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Open Season on Domainers and Domaining - Overtly Biased L.A. Times Article Leads Latest Assault on Objectivity and Accuracy

Is there a full moon this week or something? In the wake of Wikipedia's indefensible bonehead decision to redirect searches for "domaining" to a page on cybersquatting comes a 

remarkably slanted article at the Los Angeles Times website today. In a piece by David Sarno about the arrest of the New Jersey man who stole P2P.com, the "reporter" begins his article by writing these words: "In a strange series of events befitting the shady world of domain name speculation..."  What!?

I hate to sound like an old fogy but not many years ago any so-called journalist that wrote 

anything like that in a "news" article would have been given the bum's rush to the nearest exit. Whatever happened to objectivity and accuracy in reporting?  These seem to lost arts in mainstream media today.   

The Times writer obviously knows NOTHING about the domain business yet he writes something like that, smearing an entire industry and everyone in it? Iíve watched this ongoing deterioration in journalistic standards at major papers for years now but never would have dreamed it would reach the dismal state it has today. The professionals have apparently all left the buildingJoe Isuzu had more credibility than a lot of the inexperienced and under skilled writers that are all that's left in many newspaper offices (the modern day equivalent of ghost towns) - offices that once housed media giants and real reporters who actually did silly things like fact-checking and delivering unbiased accounts of the news. And newspapers wonder why new media is cleaning their clocks? This isn't the only reason but it is certainly one of them.

Today you will get more accurate and reliable news about specialized topics (like domains) from experts who write blogs about the business than you will ever get from the typical reporter in mainstream media. Michael Berkens wrote about the L.A. Times article on his blog today and one of his commentators, Johnny, summed up the current state of traditional journalism very well. He wrote, "I always knew news stories were incomplete and biased quite often, but having been a domainer for 15 years and reading all these stories has jaded me into thinking almost nothing reported is as it seems. Only experts, most often, can write a good report on the subject matter in which they are experts. The rest are amateurs writing poor articles on subjects they know nothing about." That's a bingo Johnny, take the stuffed animal of your choice.

So what is Wikipedia's excuse? Well for one, they are not even pretend journalists so objectivity and fairness are apparently not part of their lexicon. The way they are grossly mishandling subject matter related to domaining is just the latest of many examples of serious missteps that are destroying the credibility of the once high flying user edited online encyclopedia. In fact New Scientist Magazine just wrote an article about their travails called After the boom, is Wikipedia heading for bust? 

Veteran domainer Max Menius from North Carolina has been spending endless hours 

trying to get Wikipedia to stop allowing heavily biased admins to paint all domainers as cybersquatters. In a post at the NamePros forum Max summed up the unwarranted damage Wikipedia is doing to the reputation of the many good people and companies in this industry. 

In a letter to administrators at Wikipedia Menius wrote, "Due to the despicable decision to redirect domaining and domainers to the Wiki page on "cybersquatting", it is now indexed very highly in all the major search engines. This is extremely unfortunate and will be very difficult to reverse. This alone should illustrate the unnecessary damage which can occur when someone is allowed to commandeer an entire industry and trash its community on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is often considered an authoritative resource so in this instance Wikipedia was being exploited and used to defame thousands of people in the domain community by labeling them as cybersquatters.

Never again should something like this be allowed. And in the future, there should be a much more expedient process in place for undoing improper redirects. Someone one can call in urgent situations. This wasn't an innocuous or laughable situation. Very, very serious. Thank you Wiki admins for your time."

Today the redirect and the grossly inaccurate impression it gives Wikipedia readers remains in place. Those who read our new monthly newsletter about his issue wanted to know how to reach someone at Wikipedia to complain. Wikipedia apparently has no email service for users to contact them, however Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is on Twitter (http://twitter.com/jimmy_wales) where you may be able to send  him a direct message (he does not have messaging turned on but the following procedure should work). 

Go to his Twitter page and highlight any one of his posts. You will see a gray arrow appear in the lower right corner. Click on that arrow and it will open a reply screen on your home page filled in with @jimmy_wales. Change the @ sign to a d (for direct message) and hit the space bar once to separate the d from jimmy_wales. You can then write your message (140 character limit) and hit the Send button (if the button says Update instead of Send you did not put a space after the d). Let's hope Jimmy will stop letting a few bad inmates run (and ruin) the asylum.

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

(Posted August 4, 2009)

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