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Thread: Is the use of waylandmass.us domain name misleading?

  1. #1
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    Default Is use of waylandmass.us domain name misleading?

    Alan and I have been discussion websites and what's moral and ethical and what's not, and we have come to a disagreement.

    I thought it would put the question to people on this board and see what their reaction is.

    Alan has registered www.waylandmass.us (which looks suspiciously like www.wayland.ma.us) and is using it to post videos of town committee meetings. Links to these videos have appeared on WVN and lack any identification of the private nature of the site. At this time, there is no home page on the site.

    These videos are probably not so bad - they are continuous clips of public meetings. But what if he were to use the site to post information about an override, or to endorse a candidate, or any other of a number of political/advocacy purposes? And visitors could be led to the site under the misimpression that they were visiting an official town site? Is that right?

    Alan says it's OK because "it's legal and [he] can", that and there are no restrictions on what he can do on the site. I say that if this is true of the School Committee site (which it so far appears to be), then what's the difference? Well, one difference is that the School Committee site is crystal clear about its purpose.

    Alan could certainly opt to post whatever information he'd like on the site he has already established and used extensively in the past, alanjreiss.com -- why use waylandmass.us?

    What do others here think about the use of www.waylandmass.us?
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 07-13-2008 at 11:52 AM. Reason: to leave discussion more open

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    Kim,
    Why are you doing this?
    Is this just to take some of the heat and the attention off of the SC matter, or do you really have some problem with Alan's site?

    I'll respond as if it's the latter.

    Anyone who has ever used the internet knows that deception lurks around every corner. It is imperative that anyone using the internet do so with caution, don't assume anything to be true, because it's entirely possible that it's not. What might seem like a legitimate site for a company in Boston could actually be some 14 year old in Stalingrad.

    The deception is used for unsavory reasons - identity theft, etc., but it can also be used as a marketing tool. How many times have you gone to a site, had it seem slightly off, like it's not the company you thought it was, only to realize that somebody has secured a similar name, or one ending in .us or .net, instead of .com, and used this as a way to lure you to their site instead.

    This is more of a mild annoyance than anything, in the same way that a telemarketer insists that it's not really a sales call. (well, come to think of it, the latter is considerably more than a mild annoyance.)
    In any case, you recognize the situation and promptly move on to the real site you intended and you forget about it.

    Through clever and annoying marketing, somebody has gotten you to visit their site when that's not what you were looking for. Meanwhile, from their point of view, just like telemarketers, they count on percentages. A very small percentage of people will actually check out their offerings and may even be glad they did, so from their point of view, it's worth doing.

    I haven't spoken with Alan about this, but I suspect that he saw the value of securing this URL as an address that people who have an interest in Wayland would come to. Since he has a product - free videos - that he wants to share with people interested in Wayland, and since some people who visit it, actually may have an interest in these videos, where's the harm in that?

    The SC, on the other hand, has a very official sounding address - waylandschoolcommitttee.org, which many people will take to be the official SC website (I know Jeff insists it is, but much like Loker didn't really "close" per se, it was just a reconfiguration, many people have a different definition of that).
    This is particularly true because many people still have the mistaken impression that .org means that the site is owned and operated by a non-profit organization. (again, Jeff would say that it is, while others would see that it's owned by this one individual)

    So, even though Alan's situation can be framed in such a way as to appear to be comparable to Jeff's, it's apples and oranges.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  3. #3
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    Default

    It sounds like you agree with Kim, John. Every similar example is one loaded with deception and one that I would bet every American agrees with. Using a misleading name, while a common marketing gimmic, is one that costs the vendor a great deal of trust. It seems like you want to support Alan but your comments go the other way. That is a pretty thin endorsement.

    Where is the mention of loker in this thread by the way?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Kim,
    Why are you doing this?
    Is this just to take some of the heat and the attention off of the SC matter, or do you really have some problem with Alan's site?
    John, I complained to Alan about this site nearly two weeks ago, as soon as I realized the potential for confusion, and that complaint had absolutely nothing to do over the flap over the School Committee site. I believe that people are bound to be confused by the URL given certain uses of the site, which Alan asserts his rights to (such as posting information about an override).

    I do not believe this takes "heat" or "attention" off the School Committee site question, but perhaps it will help focus the debate. Which is legal? Which is right? What are the legitimate arguments for defending one while attacking the other?


    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    The deception is used for unsavory reasons - identity theft, etc., but it can also be used as a marketing tool. How many times have you gone to a site, had it seem slightly off, like it's not the company you thought it was, only to realize that somebody has secured a similar name, or one ending in .us or .net, instead of .com, and used this as a way to lure you to their site instead.
    Yup! Who'd have thought that Dick's Sporting Goods didn't get dicks.com?


    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I haven't spoken with Alan about this, but I suspect that he saw the value of securing this URL as an address that people who have an interest in Wayland would come to. Since he has a product - free videos - that he wants to share with people interested in Wayland, and since some people who visit it, actually may have an interest in these videos, where's the harm in that?
    The issue is not so much what is doing at present, but what he could do with it (I've seen same sort of argument on the School Committee site discussion). Since Alan sees no constraints (other, I assume, than ones that violate decency laws, etc.) on his use of the site, then what's to see he couldn't post his own financial analysis of the costs of a High School project (say, WVN style, using worse than worst-case financial scenarios) on that site. (I'm not saying that Alan will do this, merely that he could). Then, the harm of people mistakenly visiting that site might be that they overestimate the cost of the High School project and subsequently vote against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    So, even though Alan's situation can be framed in such a way as to appear to be comparable to Jeff's, it's apples and oranges.
    Apples and oranges, no. Perhaps Macintoshes and Galas.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 07-13-2008 at 08:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    use the site for potentially misleading purposes such as posting information about an override that could be mistaken as information from the town itself
    Bingo!
    I think that is Alan's point.
    That is exactly what Jeff is doing.

    Frankly, Kim, I'm rather disappointed in your attempt to take the heat and attention off of the SC site where it belongs.

    However annoying you may personally find this, it is a non-issue.
    The OCPF would laugh you out the door if you brought this to them.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post

    Frankly, Kim, I'm rather disappointed in your attempt to take the heat and attention off of the SC site where it belongs.

    However annoying you may personally find this, it is a non-issue.
    The OCPF would laugh you out the door if you brought this to them.
    I would never bring this to the OCPF. This is not a campaign finance issue at all.

    My point, is that it is not realistic to expect a human to notice a small change to a domain name. That is why spoofing scams are so often successful. The difference between waylandmass.us and wayland.ma.us is small, and easily missed.

    A good friend of mine who is extremely computer savvy told me he had seen a WVN email which listed links and believed these links were to the town website. He said he knew there was a committee looking to increase technology, and he thought they were already making some progress, and that these links were to videos on the town website.

    For anyone who missed it, here are some sample links as posted from WVN. It is easy to see how someone could believe they were being directed to the town site.

    ----------------------------

    From WVN #252 (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waylan...rk/message/283)

    You can see video of the June 26 ConCom meeting at:

    For Windows Media Player

    http://www.waylandmass.us/ConCom/Con...yConcordRd.wmv

    For Flash Player

    http://www.waylandmass.us/ConCom/Con...yConcordRd.swf

    For Quick Time

    http://www.waylandmass.us/ConCom/Con...yConcordRd.mp4

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I would never bring this to the OCPF. This is not a campaign finance issue at all.
    Of course not. That is my point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    A good friend of mine who is extremely computer savvy told me he had seen a WVN email which listed links and believed these links were to the town website.
    While I would downgrade to "somewhat", rather than "extremely" when describing my own level of relative savviness, I didn't even notice. Your link took me to WVN. At the bottom of that page was a bunch of links, they provide to videos. When I click on any of them to view a video, I'm brought to a video that starts off with credits, which clearly indicate that this is one guy who is doing this: "if you have any questions or want to contact me directly, email me at AlanReiss@..."

    Even at my only "somewhat" level of savviness, I can tell before the credits finish rolling that this is NOT an official site.
    To me, Alan's biggest infraction is some of his choices of font colors.

    Again, this thread is a distraction from the real issue, that of the SC website. This is a non-issue.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Default Measuring Up

    I propose several new measures:

    = A "Flah" is sort of like a degree of separation. It measures the number of thread responses before the elementary school reconfiguration is brought up. For instance, this thread measures 1 Flah. By comparison, the "Middlesex Superior Court ..." thread measures 4 Flahs.

    = A "Feid" (pronounced "fide") is a measure of spin ("Feid" is "Dief" spun around, get it?). The more someone spins a topic, the more Feids they rate. Unlike Flahs, though, Fieds are qualitative/subjective, and therefore harder to assign.

  9. #9
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    Default The sad lonely ‘but true’ story of www.waylandmass.us

    In the beginning, the almighty registrar of the URL, did register the URL and saw that the URL was good. And there was streaming movies and bandwidth on the first day.

    But then others who looked at the URL did not accept it and the poor URL felt as though it was an outcast among all other URL’s. People charged that the URL was misleading and unethical and the almighty registrar of the URL was dismayed and wanted to flood the world with other, seemingly offensive URL’s, and there was confusion and suspicion the second day.

    But a measure of restraint was then adopted by the almighty URL registrar and calm was restored because the almighty registrar of the URL felt the need for continued town governmental transparency and URL would fight for its good name and live on for another day when other URL’s would come to appreciate its important function. And there was a calm and normalcy the (afternoon) of the third day.

    Ok enough of this…

    www.WaylandeNews.com; is that the official electronic news service of Wayland Massachusetts?
    NO.. perhaps if it were WaylandeNews.ma.us it would be but its not.

    www.WaylandTransparency.com; is that the official transparency web site of Wayland Massachusetts?
    NO.. perhaps if it were WaylandTransparency.ma.us is would be but its not.

    www.WaylandSchoolCommittee.org is that the official school committee website of Wayland Massachusetts?
    NO.. perhaps if it were WaylandSchoolCommittee.ma.us is would be but its not.

    www.Waylon.com; is that the official website of Waylon Jennings?
    YES… but that nothing to do with this conversation.

    Here is the point. The primary domain of all Massachusetts municipalities is .ma. The primary domain of all California municipalities is .ca and on and on. The second domain of the states is .us

    About 2 years ago (approximately) the .us domain became available to any private user but the states domain is still reserved for the states. So the differences between:

    www.Waylandmass.us and www.Wayland.ma.us is huge.
    That little ‘dot’ before the ma puts the domain into a very exclusive club, one that is only reserved for official websites of towns in Massachusetts.

    When I first tried to register this URL I tried www.waylandma.us but, well not even the almighty registrar could do that because it was already taken by its own almighty registrar.

    And yes, Jeff D is the almighty registrar of www.WaylandSchoolCommittee.org so if Jeff wants to make a flood there he can.

    What is the future of www.waylandmass.us ? Could be:
    1. More movies for better governmental transparency
    2. A central clearing house for government issues from, yes, a private citizen
    3. Anything else I want it to be including a flood.

    How do people choose web site names?

    1. They should be a short as possible.
    2. They must be easy to remember.
    3. They must relate to the subject matter that the site will eventually be built upon.

    www.waylandmass.us is
    1. Short
    2. Easy to remember
    3. Having to do with the specific geography of what is will have to do with

    www.waylandmass.us is not
    1. A government web site
    2. Does not pretend to be one
    3. Cannot even pretend to be one because of the .ma convention for our state
    4. Illegal
    5. Immoral
    6. Unethical
    7. Jeff D’s website…. Its mine !

    Now www.waylandmass.us needs to move on and become part of the world of the living and accepted URL’s so it can be happy too.

    I hope you will let that happen.

    BTW: John Flaherty - what exactly is your issue with my selection of font colors ?

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    Default

    I'm not sure if you meant to say that I've spun the elementary school reconfiguration zero times, but I'm happy to infer that for the time being at least. I certainly don't think that I've spun it twice (or four times, or ...). As for once, well, we may hear some opinions in that regard ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    www.Waylandmass.us and www.Wayland.ma.us is huge.
    That little ‘dot’ before the ma puts the domain into a very exclusive club, one that is only reserved for official websites of towns in Massachusetts.
    Ah, the power of a single pixel!

    Speaking of pixel power, I'm reminded of the "Million Dollar Home Page" for which some clever entrepreneurs sold one million pixels for a dollar each.

  12. #12
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    Default Shine On You Crazy Diamond

    Alan,

    There is nothing wrong with your domain name and I applaud your efforts.

    The fonts?
    Well, some of them don't work that well - they're hard to read as the credits roll.
    I will check it again and get back to you with specifics.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Alan,

    I genuinely appreciate the light comments and sense of humor that are evident in your post above, and I'm very much inclined to believe that you had no deceitful intent in naming your site www.waylandmass.us. Nonetheless, I believe that it is indeed misleading because it is likely to be confused with the official Town website (www.wayland.ma.us). Your URL contains virtually the same letters in the same order as the official Town website, and the significance of the "one little 'dot'" that you refer to is not the sort of distinction that will be recognized by 99% of the populace. You could have picked any of an infinite number of different names that wouldn't mimic the name of the Town website if you'd wanted to avoid confusion (e.g., something like www.EveroneIsEntitledToMyOpinion.com). But you didn't, and when the potential for misleading confusion was pointed out to you and you were asked why you registered this name, your response was "Because I can". If you maintain the URL www.waylandmass.us, I and others can only wonder why.

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    Default One Massive Reply then thats it...

    Steve,

    OK, I take your inputs seriously and I will respond in a few ways as follows:
    Although I tried to explain that one little dot difference making the legal difference between an official site and a private site, in my case its also that I use the large abbreviation 'mass' rather than 'ma' but I did also say that I originally wanted waylandma.us and it was already taken. Again, this is a minor detail and would have made my explanation even longer.

    Your comment about 99% of the people not understanding about the dot is also a well founded conclusion because it took me a fews years of getting used to IP URL formats to realize these fine points.

    However, the fact that most people don't realize this difference should not stop me from exercising my 1st amendment rights (actually Steve, I said 2nd amendment earlier in a post and meant 1st amendment but then somebody pointed out to me that we might not have a 1st amendment without a 2nd amendment <kind of a legal joke>).

    So I think this dot stuff.. should be a matter of education of the people.

    Now I use this URL for the three reasons I stated earlier...
    1. Its short which is good for a URL
    2. Its VERY easy to remember which is good for marketing a URL
    3. It pertains to exactly what it is and what its going to be.

    Your suggestion of www.AnybodyIsEntitledtoTheirOpinion.com is actually not taken and you might to grab it... its a good one but...

    1. Its not short
    2. I don't really think its that easy to remember.. somebody could spell something wrong in that pseudo sentence.
    3. It doesn't directly relate to what the ultimate purpose of the site is.

    So I don't think you or anybody else should continue to be suspicious of why I own it and why I will use it. I'm clear about my reasons and none of them have to do with deceit or anything else bad...

    But, clearly there are some very respectable people in town who seem to have an issue with this URL and I, being a compassionate person, want to create a path where this could be alleviated.

    1. First I've taken steps in my movies to show a very compelling disclaimer that this is the effort of a private citizen (me) and that this is not an official movie that is sanctioned by the town of Wayland. John Flaherty pointed this out nicely and independently from any coaching by me... honest.

    (For whatever its worth, I put a huge effort of my time into sitting in meetings, filming, then producing multiple formats, funding bandwidth out of my own pocket... and you what... no appreciation whatsoever - except for John Flaherty.. thanks John.)

    2. Second, a main webpage will go up at some point and there will be a short tutorial disclaimer of sorts which will explain that my site is a private site and the town's site is a different site and give them the ability to hyperlink to the town's site.

    This will be even more clear than the disclaimer on www.WaylandSchoolCommittee.org so everybody should be real happy about this.

    Ok Steve, Signing Out...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeff, (reply One)

    0 spin yielding the spin unit of one 'Dief' is certainly a possible solution and I commend you on zeroing in on the degenerative case of that postulation.

    However, I want to point out that there are infinitely more even numbered solutions than zero so the probability of the degenerative solution is rather small. The much more likely solution would be a power of two in the range of 3 to 5.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeff, (reply Two)

    One thing I like about these exchanges is that I always learn something new from the trival to the dire. My usage of registar and not registrant is duly noted and my only excuse is that my mind was in the book of Genesis at that point.

    I have looked at the 'whois' of www.waylandmass.us and got this:

    Domain Name: WAYLANDMASS.US
    Domain ID: D16956963-US
    Sponsoring Registrar: GODADDY.COM INC.
    Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 146
    Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
    Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
    Registrant ID: GODA-048891370
    Registrant Name: Alan Reiss
    Registrant Organization: Unknown
    Registrant Address1: 463 old conneticut path
    Registrant City: Wayland
    Registrant State/Province: Massachusetts
    Registrant Postal Code: 01778
    Registrant Country: United States
    Registrant Country Code: US
    Registrant Phone Number: 1.5086539411
    Registrant Facsimile Number: 1.7812070393
    Registrant Email: alanjreiss@verizon.net

    Notice I am the Registrant and the Registrant Organization is 'Unknown'

    Its 'Unknown' because its not a required field.
    I could have put... Wayland School Committee or The Wizard of Oz and it would have been accepted.

    Sorry yours was a moot point on this.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeff, (reply Three)

    Thanks for pointing out that 'power of a pixel'... its wild !!
    What an idea.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Alan,

    There is nothing wrong with your domain name and I applaud your efforts.

    The fonts?
    Well, some of them don't work that well - they're hard to read as the credits roll.
    I will check it again and get back to you with specifics.
    Shine on you crazy diamond? [grin] I'm not sure how much I'd compare Alan to Syd Barrett (you tell me which parallels you had in mind!), but I, too, appreciate the effort he is going to to make these videos. I only wish they could be permanently available, and searchable somehow. But in the meantime, this is a nice effort to supplement the work of WayCAM.

    Perhaps he could somehow join up as part of WayCAM and instead post these videos on the wayland.ma.us site.

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