Quick off the mark

In the wake of the announcement today that the News of the World is to close this weekend, and amid rumours that once the dust dies down, the Murdoch empire will launch the Sun on Sunday as a replacement; it now emerges that an unknown non-trading company called Mediaspring registered thesunonsunday.co.uk on July 5, 3 days before the announcement of the New of the World’s demise. The domain was registered with UK registrar 123-reg.co.uk, part of Webfusion.

Either someone got extremely lucky with an opportunist cybersquat, or they did so with a little inside information. Or else, Mediaspring is fronting the registration for News International.

But I don’t think that could be the case, as it would be so cynical and hypocritical, wouldn’t it!


  1. chris
    July 8, 2011

    The plot thickens.

    As mentioned:
    thesunonsunday.co.uk – Registered on: 05-Jul-2011 by Mediaspring, via Webfusion.

    But also:
    thesunonsunday.com – also registered on: 05-Jul-2011, via Webfusion.

    There are a number of others that have been registered today, but they could just be people reacting to the news, and deciding to have fun.

  2. July 8, 2011

    It doesn’t strike me as unreasonable that they’d register the domain using an inconspicuous third-party name to avoid tipping their hand.

    • chris
      July 8, 2011

      Sure, but that isn’t why I think it is hypocritical.

      It’s the fact that News International were already planning a replacement paper for the one they are axing. They are giving the impression they are closing the newspaper because they are bowing to public opinion. In fact, no-one called for the closing of the newspaper, only that those responsible for the various imoral and illegal actions be brought to task.

      It is pretty clear that the closure is simply a business decision that was fully planned for days before the announcement. It’s an excellent way to make their Sunday newspaper (whatever it is called) leaner and cheaper to run, without the worries of industrial action. They are cynically using the hacking issue to make their operation more efficient.

      • July 8, 2011

        Yes, one theory I’ve heard is that they can fire all the workers (who had nothing to do with it) without the normal union and legal problems. Then they can transfer the management (who did have a lot to do with it) to the new title, and run the Sun plus the Sun on Sunday much cheaper than the two separate titles.

      • chris
        July 8, 2011

        Not fired.

        By closing the paper, all of the staff have become redundant. Same effect, but less legal hassles for News International. There is supposed to be a mandatory 90 day consultation period when redundancies are announced, but NI have simply told all employees that they will receive 90 days pay, and then that is it.

        The ironic thing is that in 2007, Colin Myler was made editor of the News of the World, with a remit to clean it up. By most reports, this is what he has done. Yesterday he was laid off – with the rest of his staff – by Rebekah Brooks, who was editor at the time much of this was going on, and is the person who should be answering questions. But she is buddies with Murdoch, and knows where all the bodies are buried, so she is safe for now.

        I think the big mistake is that they seem to have thrown Andy Coulson to the wolves – he was formally arrested today, so police can question him. Aside from the hacking issues while *he* was editor, there are also allegations of perjury and bribery of police officers.

        If he ends up going down, I don’t think he is going to go quietly.

        Who’s making popcorn?

    • chris
      July 8, 2011

      The thing that supposedly was the tipping point for this was the revelation that the News of the World (or investigators acting on its behalf) hacked the mobile of Milly Dowler, a 13 year old who was abducted and murdered in 2002. This hacking occurred while the police was searching for the girl, and the activity on the mobile gave the police (and her parents) the belief she was still alive at a time she was probably already dead.

      The critical thing was that the hacker actually deleted messages from her voicemail, because it was full, and they wanted to continue monitoring new calls coming into the phone. As such, evidence was also possibly destroyed.

      The news of all of this came out on July 4th, the domain registrations happened on July 5th. The phoney contrition and the announcing of the closure of the newspaper happened on July 7th.

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