Sunday, January 9, 2011

Worse than Cybersquatting

Earlier this week I commented upon the fact that Founders Ministries is unethically cybersquatting the domain The post generated a lively discussion in the comment thread and apparently generated a good bit of interest. It was one of the few posts on this blog that have drawn upon my background in computer work. That's by design, since this is not primarily a blog about computing.

The length and intensity of the comment thread was not by my design. The fact of the lengthy discussion after the post does give the appearance that I find the matter terribly important, which is really not the case. I was surprised that my post made the splash that it did. I had pretty much checked out of blogging (and my status remains pretty much checked out of blogging), and I didn't know anybody was still reading me.

Integrity is important. Paying attention to small unethical items is worthwhile. But there are things far more important. In my way of seeing things, it is far less important that Founders Ministries is using the domain name when they are actually not the Southern Baptist Convention, than it is important that teeming masses of churches are using the name "Baptist Church" on their signs and letterhead when they are actually not, in any meaningful way, Baptist churches.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SBC Cybersquatting

Peter Lumpkins is a clever guy with a provocative sense of humor. When I saw his latest post, coy as it was, I was intrigued. When I clicked on the link and saw that the domain name took me to the Founders web site, I grinned a big grin and wondered to myself who pulled this prank on Tom Ascol and the guys over at Founders.

I am not a Calvinist, but I am not an anti-Calvinist. I am, after all, the guy who authored the blog post Thank God for Calvinists. I have collaborated with Tom Ascol on the Regenerate Church Membership Resolution. I supported Al Mohler for the presidency of the SBC. I am not an anti-Calvinist, although I am not a Calvinist.

So, when I saw Peter's post, I presumed that somebody had pulled some electronic hijinks in order to tweak the folks over at Founders. Curious as to who was behind all of this, I performed a WHOIS search on the domain What did I find? Look for yourself. The domain was apparently registered by Tom Ascol, or perhaps by the Reisingers, since is the contact email for the registrant. And the page that you land on over at Founders does appear to be designed for people coming from this particular domain name.

It seems to me that this is cybersquatting, pure and simple. By a technicality (i.e., Founders is not trying to resell the domain name to the SBC at an inflated price) it is not illegal, but it surely is unethical.

The folks at Founders are good people who love the Lord. They've made a mistake with this (don't we all make them sometimes?). I'm sure they'll fix it. I hope they will. The aggrieved and defrauded party, after all, is the Southern Baptist Convention. And the Southern Baptist Convention is me (and a large portion of those of you who read here).