Bank of America Vainly Tries To Head Off WikiLeaks at the URL Pass

Last Updated Dec 23, 2010 1:47 PM EST

WikiLeaks has officially confirmed that its next target is a major U.S. bank. Apparently the documents are none too flattering to executives. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in an interview with the Times of London, "We don't want the bank to suffer unless it's called for. But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations."

That has to be scary, especially if you are Bank of America (BAC) and rumored to be the target. Even though the release date is only narrowed down to sometime in 2011, management has moved quickly to protect its executives through a laughable plan, using an intermediary, to snap up potentially negative URLs, as the blog DomainNameWire noticed. That's right, if anyone is going to own [insert-disgraced-executive-name-here]Sucks.com or Blows.com, it will be BofA.

The company took out hundreds of these domain registrations, on December 17:
For example, the company registered a number of domains for CEO Brian Moynihan: BrianMoynihanBlows.com, BrianMoynihanSucks.com, BrianTMoynihanBlows.com, and BrianTMoynihanSucks.com. Just to be sure, it also picked up the .net version of these names and some .orgs as well.
This attempt to protect executives shows an amazing degree of online naiveté. First, BofA executives have limited imaginations when it comes to the many ways people could put down the company and its managers. Even eliminate curses, swears, and scatology, and choosing "blows" and "sucks" as your only alternatives is pathetic.

Furthemore, BofA apparently has a limited grasp of finance (big surprise there, eh?), as Cory Doctorow points out in BoingBoing:
In a stunning tribute to the financial acumen of BofA's C-suite, they seem to have missed the fact that total combinations of $FIRSTNAME/INITIAL + $LASTNAME + [blows|sucks|crook|thief|fraudster].[com|net|org|ws|info|cc|ca|ch|whatever] multiplied by, say, $5/domain/year exceeds the total capital reserves of the bank.
As for the company itself, trying some interference is years too late. Bank of America Sucks is already a haven for dissatisfied customers.


A quick check found that bankofamericablows.com and thebankofamericasucks.com are already taken, but I was offered the chance to get any of the following:
  • bankofamericablows.net
  • bankofamericablows.info
  • bankofamericablowsonline.com
  • mybankofamericablows.com
  • thebankofamericasucks.net
  • thebankofamericasucks.org
Depending on what comes out from WikiLeaks -- and assuming that it actually does target BofA -- this organization will undergo a quick tutorial in culture shock. And wait until the executives realize that the main negative traffic will come from a WikiLeaks link itself as well as the, face it, thousands of stories that will appear over the weeks.

In keeping with the spirit of giving, I invite readers to suggest other URLs that BofA had better quickly look at (or any that readers may have already snapped up). Click the contact link under my picture and drop an email. Depending on what we get (keep it clean, people), I'll put together a list of some of the best answers to demonstrate to Bank of America what creativity really is. At least, when it doesn't involve numbers.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.