“There’s gold in them there domain names! You snooze, you lose,” said
the leather-clad WebCyberMaster to the three-piece suit. “Stake your
On more than one occasion, I pulled the same stunt that Hasse Inc.
appears to have pulled on the San Francisco mayoral candidates. That is,
to land as many targeted good domains as possible in hopes of making a
“future client” happy. “Happy” to see you thought of them before they
realized their domain name need.
Wired’s August 10 article claims that the Clint Reilly campaign hired
Hasse Inc. after it learned Hasse was cybersquatting on Reilly.com,
damayor.com, williebrown.com, williebrownjr.com, frankjordan.com and
Hold on there. Back up the truck … beep … beep … beep. The name Reilly.com has been owned and
operated by a mortgage company called Reilly Mortgage in McLean, Va.,
since 1995. As we all know by now, there is one and only one dot com
spelling allowed in cyberspace. Reilly Mortgage was there first. So
Hasse Inc. didn’t cybersquat Reilly.com. Gee, let’s explore this
a bit more.
According to public records created last February, Andy Hasse, using
a P.O. Box in Connecticut, does in fact own williebrown.com. Linda
Blass, with a San Francisco phone number, is the administrative contact.
Web the Vote, using Hasse’s P.O. Box in Connecticut, owns
frankjordan.com, created April ’99, again with Linda Blass using the
same San Francisco phone number as the administrator.
However, the public records show that Hasse Inc. is not related to
ownership of the other domain names. Since October ’97, damayor.com has
been owned by another party. The owner today is Poohjo Online, partners
of Bayshore Magazine. As for williebrownjr.com, it is owned by The Void
with Gary Straub as the administrative contact since May of ’98.
Clint Reilly’s web site is at
www.clintreilly.com That means Wired appears to be a little wacked
on the Net facts. Oh well, why should one expect to see a net
reporter’s research-to-assumed-facts ratio be any different than that of
the bulk of other media sources?
The Willie Brown spin is that he lost something that he was entitled
to as a result of the mean-spirited Reilly campaign. Indeed, the TV news
spin is exactly that — that the mean-spirited Reilly campaign took
williebrown.com and other great campaign domain names, and that Hasse
Inc. was hired by Clint Reilly to do this mean thing.
However, from the domain record creation dates and the fact that
Hasse Inc. does not own, nor have they Net-jacked all the domain names
claimed, it looks more to me like an old Internet Web design practice
called “Get the domain and let’s see if we can get the client.”
Back in ’94, when I started an Internet company, I pulled the exact
same stunt that Hasse Inc. appears to have performed. I went and
registered loads of casino names. The thought was that casinos have the
big dollar budget to launch websites — perhaps even launch gambling
We landed such popular casino names as Trump.com and Ballys.com.
Unfortunately, most casinos didn’t understand the Net. We were far from
their base of operations and they didn’t understand cyber commuting.
They elected less experienced and overpriced advertising agencies, or
established other nearby Web working relationships. Once we discovered a
business we had hoped to work for couldn’t use us, we immediately turned
over the domain name to that business. We also conveyed a simple message
that we would enjoy an opportunity to help them again in the future.
Months later a percentage would call pleading for help and we were
hired. Back then you had to be proactive in educating businesses of the
importance of the Internet and the power of a domain name.
In those days, it was easy to land domain names. In fact, domain
names were actually free when the net started. You simply filled out the
e-mail form, no Visa or Mastercard required. Our federal tax dollars
established that long before Al Gore knew he had invented the Internet.
It would be interesting to learn if Hasse Inc. is going to hold those
domains on purpose. My guess is Hasse Inc. and Reilly’s campaign never
initially intended things to work out this way. That is, they never
dreamed that Willie Brown would get a jump on the public relations
aspect of domain name sympathy.