May 29, 1997 6:30 PM PDT

Name game with Microsoft

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Over the past few days, someone has been registering dirty domain names in the name of Microsoft. It's enough to make Bob blush.

Look up "freehooker.com" in the InterNIC's database of domain names and you'll find that it is registered to Microsoft Network.com, but it's not the Microsoft Network you think it is.

Los Angeles-area resident Danny Khoshnood appears to have gone on an inexplicable registration spree, reserving at least 40 domain names ranging from the odd, "happypupy.com" (sic), to the naughty, "dirtybird.com," all in the name of the Microsoft Network.

However, according to the InterNIC's records, Khoshnood started a month ago. On April 18, he registered "microsoftnetwork.com", listing his company's name as the Microsoft Network. According to his Internet service provider, Khoshnood did indeed register "microsoftnetwork.com" and hosted a nondescript personal page there for a few days. Today, Khoshnood appears to be mirroring Microsoft's front page at the address.

Starting around Sunday, Khoshnood appears to have registered the additional names, listing the same Los Angeles address--an apparent commercial mailbox--and bogus Los Angeles-area telephone numbers. His ISP said Khoshnood's email address was genuine, but CNET's NEWS.COM received no response to its inquiries and Khoshnood hasn't returned phone calls made to a phone number he gave to register another site, "realsluts.com."

But that's not the end of the tale. Khoshnood appears to have registered several domain names using many of the real Microsoft's product names, including Encarta, Windows NT Workstation, Visual Basic, and Flight Simulator.

What Khoshnood's motives are--if it was indeed he who registered the names--remains a mystery.

But whoever registered those names is naive if he believes he can sell them to Microsoft, according to Edwin Hayward, Webmaster for Internet Gold-Rush, a Web site devoted to domain name speculation and news. If the names haven't been paid for and Microsoft protests, "the InterNIC will deny the registrations, put the names 'on hold,' and then put them back in the pot of available names...although I think [Microsoft] may pass on 'pornforporn.com,'" Hayward said in an email interview from Tokyo, Japan.

Microsoft isn't amused--the real Microsoft, that is. The company is investigating the matter and "taking steps to try to remedy the situation," a spokesman said.

"Obviously, this person's actions are not in any way related to Microsoft," he said. "This could potentially become a legal problem."

 

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