Dec 14, 2006

Is Tag-Board.com dead? Yeah, looks like it may be pretty much that way. Its been down too long:





Sad to see it go. The story is a bit interesting too. Way back in 1997-8 (I forget now), I was in high school. Registered my first domain for $70 (2 years) pitching in money with 3 friends. The domain, infinitevoid.com, is now owned by spammers but thats a different story.

When we registered the domain, we used a real email address as the contact information. Email spam was big back then, and it was growing. Email addresses in the contact fields of domain name whois records (public information) were great email spam sources - the contacts really existed, and they had spent money online, so they were already prequalified as trusting the net with their credit card number and they weren't 8 year olds. Anyway, the email address we gave for infinitevoid.com got spammed. So we changed it - to a hotmail address. We wouldn't have to read it except when we knew there was an email we should expect.

When I registered Tag-Board.com, I already know that trick. Private Domain registrations weren't popular yet, so I just used a yahoo.com email address. Once Tag-Board became popular, I ponied up the money and registered it for 10 years out so there was little chance of me losing it. Then I ignored that email address. Yahoo apparently re-releases addresses after so many months of inactivity, so that email address expired. Someone noticed this and grabbed the email address. They then sent a request to transfer the domain to their own control to the registered email address and approved the transfer. Domain gone. Virtually impossible to recover.

We contacted that person (who still remains successfully anonymous through a gmail account). Every once in awhile we thought we were getting close to being able to pay the thief a few thousand dollars and get control back, but then he'd stop responding to emails for a month or two. Eventually, Edward (my business partner) decided to contact a lawyer and start the official ICANN intermediation process. It was a gamble. The thief would know what was going on if they read their email. The process cost *alot* of money. We were hoping that the thief wouldn't notice until too late. We were wrong. After alot of money spent, and nearly 2 months of downtime, we don't have the domain back.

I imagine most of our users have left, and it will be very difficult to get them back. In the early days of the service, we were the only game in town - now there are lots of copycats. None of them could handle the scale individually, so we remained the biggest game in town. It is especially sad since Tag-Board still lives in every way except for the domain name. You can find the site at Tag-Board.biz. It runs alot faster now since there is less load on the 5 servers.

Update: Looks like things have returned somewhat to normal. While still not the hip, fresh thing that Tag-Board once was, it is still hobbling along with some traffic and still delivering a handful of ad impressions.