Thursday, October 07, 2004

Double-check those Web addresses

We've all heard horror stories of papers accidentally publishing a dot-com (porn) or dot-org (spoof) address for the White House instead of the real dot-gov address.

But what happens when the vice president messes up during a televised debate?

Dick Cheney meant to direct people to, a public service run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Instead, he sent them to, which was a for-profit advertising site. The company got about 100 hits a second and figured it could relieve its servers and help Democrats at the same time. It automatically redirected visitors to a site run by George Soros, a billionaire working hard to unseat Bush.

A company lawyer said the firm picked Soros' site because of politics and because it knew he could afford to pay for the hits.

But Soros knew nothing about it. His Web site now has a message saying: "We do not own the domain name and are not responsible for it redirecting to We are as surprised as anyone by this turn of events. We believe that Vice President Cheney intended to direct viewers of the Vice-Presidential Debate to"


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