"Because we do not have a direct connection to the internet, we request that you notify the internet registration on our behalf, to delete our domain name sex.com. Further, we have no objections to your use of the domain name sex.com and this letter shall serve as our authorization to the internet registration to transfer sex.com to your organization.”
The likelihood that a company called Online Classifieds, which was handing over ownership of an Internet domain, did not have an Internet connection was so remote it would be bound to set off
alarm bells. Cohen’s motive was also immediately obvious: this was sex.com, the most transparently desirable Internet domain in existence. NSI only had Cohen’s word that the transfer was legitimate, and the proof of this was a highly unusual and unorthodox letter sent to Cohen, and faxed by Cohen.
And that should have been the end of the matter. The remarkable tale of sex.com reduced to a few weeks of irritation before Kremen was handed back the domain and things continued as they were previously. The domain transfer had already been flagged up as suspicious. The original owner had complained, and the apparent proof of its legitimate transfer was a transparent forgery. Handing the domain back really was no more that typing a few details into their system and hitting Save.
But it never happened. There was no investigation – not one that NSI has ever admitted to, anyway. Kremen was ignored, and Cohen was allowed to continue running sex.com, which even back in 1995 was making him hundreds of thousands of dollars every month. Why?
That was the question that would haunt Gary Kremen for the next eight years.
Read our next installment, online at ComputerworldUK from next Friday