Tag Archives: news of the world

Has News International really registered TheSunOnSunday.com?

A number of news outlets – including the BBC, Guardian and Channel 4 News – mentioned yesterday in their coverage of the closure of the News Of The World that TheSunOnSunday.com had been registered just two days ago. (It was also mentioned by Hugh Grant on last night’s Question Time.)

It’s a convenient piece of information for a conspiracy theory – but a little bit of digging suggests it’s unlikely to have been registered by News International as part of some grand plan.

When I tweeted the claim yesterday two people immediately pointed out key bits of contextual information from the WHOIS records:

Firstly, it is unlikely that News International would use 123-reg to register a domain name. @bigdaddymerk noted, News International “use http://bit.ly/cWSHia for their .coms and have their own IPS tag for .co.uk”

Murray Dick added that it would “be odd for big corporation to withhold info on whois record”

And – not that this is a big issue given recent events – according to @bigdaddymerk “in the case of the .co.uk registering as a UK individual would be whois abuse.” (UPDATE: The specific abuse is detailed here)

You might argue that the above might be explained by News International covering their tracks, but if were covering their tracks it’s unlikely they’d do it like this.

UPDATE: From Malc. in the comments: more digging has been done at Loutish – note the comments as well.

UPDATE 2: It seems there are other web addresses registered by other companies, too. This post points out, however, potential trademark issues (none has been registered) and conflict with Trinity Mirror.

UPDATE 3: Those other addresses are now registered to News International – but not the .com domains.

UPDATE 4: I think News Corp missed an opportunity with FoxNewsUK.com

The timeline

Anyway, digging further into the timeline of the ‘Sunday Sun’ casts further doubt on any conspiracy connected to News Of The World.

For example, it was reported over a week ago that The Sun was moving to 7-day production (thanks to Roo Reynolds, again on Twitter).

Between that announcement and the registration of TheSunOnSunday.com, anyone with a habit of domain squatting could have grabbed the domain in the hope that it would become valuable in the future.

Either way, even if it has been registered by someone at News International, the timings just don’t add up to a News Of The World-related conspiracy. Certainly it will have been a factor in deciding to close the NOTW, and plans to launch a Sun On Sunday are now likely to be accelerated (I’m amazed that they hadn’t registered the domains before, at least as a defensive move) – but it’s pretty clear that those plans pre-date the closure of NOTW.

So, as I wrote yesterday, a ‘Sunday Sun’ is not a rebranding of News Of The World. They have just closed the country’s biggest selling newspaper – its most profitable tabloid – and made 200 people redundant.

Note: this post was udpated to correct an error: the NOTW is not the highest selling English language newspaper in the world (that is probably The Times of India). Thanks to Paul Carvill in the comments for highlighting.

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The death of the News Of The World

What an incredible few days. The PCC’s statement yesterday was extraordinary – even if it turns out to be merely a cosmetic exercise. Today’s announcement that the News of the World will end as a brand is, as its mooted replacement would say, a “stunner”.

It took almost exactly 3 days – 72 hours – to kill off a 168-year-old brand. Yes, there were other allegations and two years in the lead up to The Guardian’s revelation that Milly Dowler was targeted by the newspaper. But Milly Dowler and the various other ordinary people who happened to be caught up in newsworthy events (kidnappings, victims of terrorist attacks, families of dead soldiers), were what turned the whole affair.

That story was published at 16.29 on Monday. Incredible.

We talk a lot about the disintermediation of the press – the fact that companies, governments and celebrities can communicate directly with the public. The targeting of the News Of The World’s advertisers, and the rapid mobilisation of thousands of signatures supporting an inquiry, demonstrated that that disintermediation works the other way too. Where once the media could have acted as a dampener on how public protest appeared to advertisers and Parliament, their powers to do so now are more limited. [UPDATE: Paul Mason puts this particularly well here]

So while The Sun may be moving to 7-day production, that doesn’t make this a rebranding or a relaunch. As of Monday, The News of the World brand is dead, 168 years of journalistic history (not to mention 200 jobs) offered up as a sacrifice.

Whether that sacrifice is accepted, and to what extent, is yet to be seen. In the meantime, the significance of this shouldn’t be underestimated.

This post originally appeared on the blog Facebook page