Bewildering Stories Editorial
The Great Wall of What?!
by Don Webb
An Internet domain-name registration company in China has kindly informed us that someone or some organization wishes the register the name “Bewildering Stories” with the country designation .cn. And we are offered the opportunity to protect the name by acquiring prior registration.
Now, Bewildering Stories’ contributors and readers live in all the inhabited continents in the world. And otherworldly contributors and readers are welcome, of course. If Bewildering Stories’ URL had any “country” designation, it would be that of the United Nations.
A copy of our latest correspondence, included below, omits the name of the company and correspondent a courtesy to the readers. Bewildering Stories gratefully accepts flattery but, since the scam is so transparent, we feel obliged to issue a humorous caution.
Thank you for the follow-up concerning the registry of bewilderingstories.cn, bewilderingstories.com.cn, bewilderingstories.net.cn, bewilderingstories.org.cn. I suppose our publication should be flattered that anyone would consider it so important that they would want to “borrow” its name and add a hitherto unused type and country designation.
As you say, nothing prevents anyone from doing the same thing for any country in the world. If Bewildering Stories registers all four domain types for “.cn,” the entity requesting the registration could simply change the country designation, perhaps to Samoa, North Korea, Taiwan or Vatican City.
Since there are about 196 countries in the world, one would have to register 784 versions of bewilderingstories.[something].[somewhere]. And the number would multiply further as domain types are added, for example: bewilderingstories.fraud.cn.
Protecting any website’s domain name world-wide would amount to building on the Internet — or national variations thereof — the equivalent of the Great Wall or, perhaps, another emperor’s dream of a wall between the USA and Mexico. Such a virtual construction on the Internet would exceed the capacity of even so mighty an empire as Bewildering Stories.
I hasten to thank you for your kind consideration and for valiantly maintaining professional standards in domain registration. You have our every sympathy for being obliged to deal with a shadowy entity whose motives for imitation seem dubious at best. We must regretfully conclude that we can do little else but publicly disavow any association with any organization that uses bewilderingstories.[anything].[anywhere].
“There is no story so truly Bewildering as reality.”
The letter is entirely sarcastic, of course. Unfortunately, it’s probably wasted on the scammer, but it is fun. He may not think it’s funny, though, to suggest registering anything in Taiwan as a separate country. One imagines burly gentlemen in uniform telling him to “Walk this way” or carrying him out under their arms. Maybe if I get more spam of this kind I’ll play that angle for all it’s worth.
Meanwhile, a Review Editor has kindly sent a link to attorneys’ discussion: “Guarding Against the Chinese Domain Name Email Scam.” The article is succinct and clear, and it contains no real surprises. Bewildering Stories is pleased to get noticed and even to be considered solvent enough to fleece. However, a cash-free zone has no fleece.
Copyright © 2019 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories