[unisog] Problems with EDU.COM domain

Jeffrey Altman jaltman at columbia.edu
Thu Mar 30 17:36:40 GMT 2006

Conor McGrath wrote:
> Vantage Media registered the edu.com domain and then realized that lots
> of folks were hitting xxx.edu.com when they really wanted xxx.edu.
> Rather than have these folks get 404 errors Vantage felt it would be
> more helpful to show the pages that point to specific information about
> the institution the user was really trying to find.

Several points/questions:

(1) Why did Vantage Media register this domain in the first place?
    There must have been some commercial interest or they would not have
    done so.

(2) If Vantage Media was truly concerned about users not reaching
    www.columbia.edu when they went to the page www.columbia.edu.com
    then all they had to do was provide a redirect to the
    www.columbia.edu page.   Why bother setting up on infrastructure
    to collect personal information and then need to setup the necessary
    liaison relationships with the admission offices?   What admission
    office in their right mind would accept personal data about
    prospective students from an untrusted third party in the first

(3) What is Vantage Media doing with all of the e-mail they collecting?

    set type=MX
    > columbia.edu.com
        primary name server = pdns1.ultradns.net
        responsible mail addr = mark.vantagemedia.com

    Why even bother to setup a wildcard MX record such that all
    misdirected mail gets delivered to them instead of being bounced
    back to the sender?

Fundamentally, there is no rationale explanation for why anyone would
setup web pages and mail capture unless they were attempting to obtain
personal information.

If Vantage Media wants to do the correct thing, they will transfer
ownership of the .edu.com domain to EDUCAUSE immediately.  Otherwise, I
suspect they will be hearing from a number of lawyers.

Jeffrey Altman
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