Bank of America Goes on Domain Name Shopping Spree

Large companies often must deal with the problem of disgruntled former employees and customers with axes to grind. These individuals can take their case to the Internet to get a wide hearing. What can you do about it? Well, if you’re Bank of America, you can throw money at the problem by purchasing a lot of domain names.

Creative domain names are often a good way to get a point across. There are not too many more effective ways to express your displeasure towards a certain person or entity than to create and purchase a domain name that can be advertised to the public. A roadside billboard could work, but that costs a ton of money. Taking out some ad space in a newspaper is another way, but it still is not as cost effective as going the domain name route on the Internet.

Apparently Bank of America knows this, and to prevent the disgruntled public from tarnishing its name or its high ranking officials, the financial institution has gone on a recent shopping spree. It’s not shopping for Christmas gifts, however. Instead, Bank of America has purchased a large block of domain names. 

The move to purchase various domain names is more of a preemptive measure, considering that WikiLeaks could release damaging documents to the public concerning Bank of America. Combine that with the fact that one very negative site concerning the bank exists (of which details are coming next), and you have some reason for panic. Before the public can purchase more damaging domain names, the bank has decided to purchase them itself and keep them off the free market.

Unfortunately for Bank of America, its shopping spree was a bit late. The domain name bankofamericasucks.com has already been taken, and its perfect combination of the bank’s name and the ultra-negative “sucks” term gets its creator’s point across quite well. It’s not just a public relations nightmare in terms of its domain name, however. The site also hosts a forum where the public can make comments and express their opinions and negative experiences with the bank.

So, although Bank of America has its hands full in blocking the public from bankofamericasucks.com, it did its best to avoid more embarrassment by purchasing over 400 domain names in mid-December. The domain names contain names of bank executives combined with the terms “blows” or “sucks.” For example, it purchased bryanmoynihanblows.com and bryanmoynihansucks.com. In case you were wondering, Bryan Moynihan is the bank’s CEO. 

To make sure it covered its tracks, the bank purchased the .com, .net, and .org variations of all the domains as well. It did leave the .info variations up for grabs, though. For some reason, some of the bank’s board members did not have domain names purchased in their honor, making it seem as if the bank’s name-buying spree was done rather sloppily. Two of the board members whose names were not listed in the newly purchased domains were Monica Lozano and Thomas May. 

Bank of America’s move to purchase hundreds of domain names in advance to protect its members may soften future blows to its reputation. How effective the move is remains to be seen, however. With bankofamericasucks.com already taken, that site holds plenty of power on its own, and whoever owns the rights to the domain name will likely make a pretty penny if and when they sell it to Bank of America.

For more on this topic, visit http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9202400/Bank_of_America_Buying_Naughty_Domain_Names

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