Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Monday, January 13, 2014

City's official website disappears?

The city's domain name (highlighted in yellow) is as much
as asset as a snow plow or a fire truck.
Checking Plainfield's official website (see here) before going to bed Sunday evening, I was startled to find a 'website not found' error notice.

If you recall, I wrote in December (see here) that an issue had come to light when a Transition Team volunteer uncovered the fact that the domain name was set to expire at the end of 2013.

I pointed out that the plainfield .com domain was a valuable asset, and hoped that someone would address the issue before the registration expired as Mayor-elect Mapp had no authority to order an action to be taken.

I was roundly criticized by a member of the Transition Team for being unprofessional, for which I apologized to that person and to Mayor-elect Mapp.

The overnight 'disappearance' of the City's official website appears more likely to have been a short downtime for maintenance, as the site was up and working Monday morning.

However the incident led me to check the 'Whois' database, which lists detailed information about the site and its ownership. You can view that information here.

There I found that on December 11, 2013, the day after my original post, the site's registration had been renewed until January 11, 2015 and the ownership information indicated an unnamed entity in Drums, PA, a small community in the Poconos.

As I pointed out in December, the domain name is an asset, just as much as a snow plow or a fire truck --

...owning both domain names [.con and .gov] gives the City of Plainfield the flexibility to allow the use of the .com domain for a separate purpose (or purposes) from the city government website -- say as  window on economic development activity and opportunities, or to promote Plainfield cultural organizations and activities or tourism or as an online marketplace for Plainfield businesses. The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations ... AND OWNING the domain name.
If the ownership has truly been taken away from the City of Plainfield, a question arises whether City staff have a 'duty of care' with regard to the preservation of the ownership of the domain name and have thus been negligent.

Such negligence, if that is the case, could have serious consequences.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Anonymous said...

We're paying for a head of IT? And this happened?


Anonymous said...

So what, get a life dan. actually I need to get a life and stop reading your junk!!!

Michael Townley said...

If someone else owns a domain name, can't they re-direct it to another site? Thought that's what happened to a town in PA about 10 years ago. People were sent to a porn site; town had to pay big $$ to get the domain back.

Anonymous said...

Apparently you have no idea how to interpret the ownership of the domain or know what a private registration is. The Update of December 11th is the date the data base for was updated and has nothing to do with the renewal date. The domain was renewed on December 31, 2013 for one year and is good to December 30, 2014.

And the assumed entity in Drums,Pa is Network Solutions which is the Registrar - no the owner of the domain.

Your negligence, in not knowing what you are talking about, could have serious consequences.

This is not the first time your attempts to embarrass someone has left you the one with egg on your face.

Dan said...

@ 6:06 PM -- At last, an authoritative voice!

Except now I'm left with even more questions...

Why would a taxpayer-funded governmental website (which never had a private registration before) now have a private registration?

And why was the former mayor's email address never updated for Network Solutions database?

And, lastly, was this decision to now have a private registration made by the new mayor? Or was he even informed of this change?

Questions, questions, questions.....

Anonymous said...

Private registration helps reduce the amount of spam.

Why was the email never changed? Routine screw up of Sharon and her aide.

As a backup, there can simply have an email address of as a secondary email address which can be passed on or email forwarded to another email address so there are backups for notifications. Bottom line just renew for 25 years