In blog

Cross-posted from Brendan Malone at The Leading Edge Blog.

On Sunday night I was doing some work-related research and I mistakenly entered the URL www.familyfirst.CO.nz instead of www.familyfirst.ORG.nz – and when I did, something interesting happened.

Instead of finding myself at the website of Family First NZ, I found myself looking at the website for the Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ).

What this means is that someone has purchased the domain name familyfirst.co.nz, and then deliberately pointed it at the website of the NZ pro abortion-choice activist group ALRANZ – obviously as an attack against Family First that is intended to deceptively divert people away from that organisation’s website.

But that’s not the reason I am writing this blog post.

Instead I am writing this post to call ALRANZ out, to put some hard questions to them, and to challenge them to act with consistency and not hypocrisy over this deceptive use of a URL.

You see, several years ago someone did something very similar to ALRANZ, and ALRANZ lambasted the person responsible and demanded that serious action be taken to bring an immediate end to what was going on.

Here’s what happened:

A NZ pro-lifer purchased the domain name www.alarnz.org.nz and pointed it at a spoof pro-life website they had created to voice their ethical opposition to abortion and to support the right to life of unborn human beings.

ALRANZ were so incensed by this that none other than Dame Margaret Sparrow (pictured above) contacted this pro-lifer personally, stating that she considered this to be “unethical and unacceptable”, and that “It is clear that someone has maliciously purchased the website alranz.org.nz as an attack on our website alranz.org”.

ALRANZ then went as far as to call on an independent expert, hired by the Domain Name Commission (at a hefty cost to ALRANZ), to rule on whether or not this was a misuse of the domain name www.alranz.org.nz, and whether the URL had to be surrendered by the pro-lifer so that ALRANZ could acquire it for themselves to use.

The Domain Name Commission ruled in favour of ALRANZ, and www.alranz.org.nz was acquired by ALRANZ and promptly pointed at their website shortly thereafter.

So with that in mind, I now have some hard questions for ARLANZ:

1. Were they aware that someone had purchased the domain name familyfirst.co.nz and pointed it at their website? If so, how long have they known about this?

2. If they already know about familyfirst.co.nz being pointed at their website, then what action have they taken to stop this?

3. Is the URL familyfirst.co.nz owned by ALRANZ, or a staff member, volunteer or other member of ALRANZ? (theofficial records at the NZ Domain Name Commission show that the person who owns this URL has used a pseudonym and other deceptions to hide their true identity).

4. Do ALRANZ know who owns the domain name familyfirst.co.nz?

My challenge to ARLANZ is simple: if you truly are consistent, and you do not wish to be hypocrites, then you need to urgently deal with this matter.

If you, or one of your staff, volunteers or members is responsible for this then it needs to put right ASAP, and in keeping with your organisation’s previous stance on this very issue, you need to allow Family First to buy back the URL to avoid any further confusion.

If this URL is not being redirected by you, but by some unknown supporter of yours, then you need to alert your supporters via your Facebook page, Twitter feed, websites and newsletters, and ask the person responsible to put an end to this immediately.

Anything less would be blatant hypocrisy.

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