I was cruising Boing Boing today because I heard they had a post on a new OREILLY magazine called Make. But I was happy to get sidetracked with this other story:

Penguin Putnam’s racketeering domain-name scam

It seems that the big dogs are hounding some woman over a domain name, Katie.com, that she has owned since 1996. The poor woman is traumatized and even pushed to the point of considering letting it go after passing up several $$$ offers in the past.

Is the publisher taking it too far? Is the author, Katie Tarbox, expecting the publisher to keep at it? Is all of this some crazy PR stunt for the book?

As an author, what would I do if my publisher was ruining some poor woman’s life? I don’t know, but I’d like to think I could be creative enough to figure out a different web promotion option. How about KatieTheBook.com. I just tried it and nobody has that. Nobody has Katiedotcom.com, either.

If I were the victim, would I split a section of my site off and sell the controversial book in hopes of reaping some kind of benefit from the heaps of unwanted traffic? Who knows? But this is too bad.

What would you do?

BTW, I just found out that the author went with katiet.com, and they don’t really need a PR stunt because they’ve had all the media they could want. People, Oprah, CNN, etc.

One comment

  1. I can’t imagine a publisher would consider a title like that for a book without doing a 2-second search online to see whether the site already existed. With that information in hand, they should have contacted the katie.com owner before they officially titled the book, or just come up with a different title. Aside from wanting to have a domain name that matches the title, they clearly didn’t give a second’s thought to the subject matter of the book, the work of the domain owner (very ironic!), and how this would affect her life. It’s really sad and irresponsible. If I were the domain owner, I think I’d hold my ground too–and find out if I could take some sort of legal action against Penguin, since her name and her privacy have been dragged through the mud and now people apparently think she’s the one who had the experiences described in the book.

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