Securing your digital assets … not the blog post we thought we would be quickly writing on a Friday morning.
Today, a domain purchased yesterday has had more than 135,000 visits and over 2,100 users on at any given time. It is being talked about on SMH, News.com.au, Herald Sun, SBS, 9 News, 10 Daily, LifeHacker and hundreds more websites.
So, What Happened?
Yesterday one of our enterprising young stars, Jack, purchased an expired domain: scottmorrison.com.au
Morrison and his social media team allowed the domain to lapse and Jack purchased it in an after-market auction for about $50. Other domains that dropped yesterday include: carpetcleaningnewsouthwales.com.au, toastedsandwich.com.au and ripegripe.com.au so, clearly he had options.
According to Jack “I put $50 on it and forgot about it for 6 hours.”
Why Buy the Domain?
As marketers, we are always on the lookout for good expiring domains. This one just happened to be amazingly good. To be honest, when you have the chance to buy the sitting PM’s domain you just do it and figure out what you are going to do with it later.
Read Jack's version of events here
What are the options? Well, if you don’t have a legitimate reason to own a .com.au domain name it can be taken off you. So … Jack would need to have a legitimate reason. We considered setting up a news site all about Scott Morrison. That’s legitimate. We considered giving/selling it to literally any other Scott Morrison in the country as they would definitely have a legitimate reason to own it.
His original post has nearly 700 comments, 1,000 shares and well over 1700 reactions. A tweet by Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) it has been liked over 900 times and retweeted over 450 times.
Why Is the Site Down?
If you’ve tried to access http://scottmorrison.com.au/ today and it’s out of resources, it’s because the domain is currently hosted on a shared server like any other small business website. Jack didn’t expect to have to host 1,600 users at a time. The hosting has held up surprisingly well and according to Jack “I’m just happy it still works.”
What Happens Next?
Jack has already contacted the PM’s office to get the domain back to him.
"Hi Scott, hope you're having a great day. I bought your domain name when it expired. I don't want anything bad to come from it. Could you please get in contact to arrange a transfer of the domain back to you."
The important thing is that it was purchased by someone who won’t use it to cause harm.
What could’ve happened? If a catch-all email was setup and Jack started doing password reset requests to websites, he could have access to anything that was setup under the domain. Because he hasn’t done this, we don’t know what emails are coming in, who they’d be from or any damaging information but if the opposition party or others with malicious intent gained access, they could definitely do some damage.
So, while #scottydidntknow last night, we’re pretty sure he does now.
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(This domain is now back in the PM's hands. While we had it, traffic spiked to over 2100 concurrent users and 400,000+ traffic.)