Type of site
whitehouse.com was an adult and political entertainment website that first came online in 1997. According to a statement on the web, it was originally created by Ransom Scott as a place where uncensored discussion of government policies could occur before adult content was added to make it more profitable. More recently, the adult content has been eradicated.
Part of the controversy about whitehouse.com was that users (especially minors in most cases) wishing to visit the website of the White House (www.whitehouse.gov) could easily go to the adult website instead. Although .gov, a top-level domain (TLD), is available only to official government sites in the United States, .com is a much more common TLD and is frequently entered by mistake. In addition, many web browsers add '.com' to the end of an address if no suffix is entered, so simply typing 'whitehouse' into the address bar would lead one to whitehouse.com. Because of the explicit and commercial content of the site, it was frequently cited as one of the most egregious examples of domain name misuse, up until the domain was sold.
Many school children in the late 1990s inadvertently saw adult content via the website.
The website whitehouse.org, a humor site that formerly satirized the former U.S. president George W. Bush, remains controversial for similar reasons, although less so because its content is usually much less explicit.
In 2006, PC World ranked Whitehouse.com #13 on its list "The 25 Worst Web Sites".
In December 1997, the Clinton administration sent Dan Parisi a cease and desist letter stating, "... we do not challenge your right to pursue it or to exercise your First Amendment rights, but we do challenge your right to use the White House, the President, and the First Lady as a marketing device. For adult internet users, that device is, at the least, part of a deceptive scheme. For younger Internet users, it has more disturbing consequences." The letter had no effect and the site stayed up.
Statuses and uses
In 2004 Dan Parisi decided to sell the domain, mainly because of his son who would be in kindergarten the next year. At this point he was making US$1 million annually from the site alone. Parisi had said he did not want to sell the domain name to anyone in the adult entertainment industry, and even claimed to have turned down what was essentially a blank check from a buyer hiding his identity behind his broker.
In November 2005, the domain appeared to be used for a real estate site. In December 2005 it contained only Google ads, with a notice that a site for investigating people by checking their public records would be coming.
In March 2006, whitehouse.com called itself "America's Free Speech Forum". It advertised a cartoon contest and presented links to Associated Press political news stories.
In July 2006, the site was a real estate site again, and forwarded to www.house.com.
As of June–October 2007, the site has once again changed and now claims to be "your source for up-to-date information to help you keep track of the major party candidates for President."
Until recently[when?], the domain redirected to the previous real estate website again. The site was being used for home loan remodification and debt consolidation, with the disclaimer reading that is not "affiliated or endorsed by the U.S. Government".
As of September 2009, the site was a local New Jersey-centered video hosting site. The site's main purpose was to host videos of local town hall meetings in New Jersey.
As of July 2010, the site was a blank page with large black letters stating, "Future site of WhiteHouse.com" with no other information or link.
As of Sept 2010, the site returned with the Banner Heading of WhiteHouseLawyers.com. The site's purported main purpose was to provide a search portal for personal injury / disability lawyers based on users location. But upon testing user input including name, phone, state, and e-mail, no listing of lawyers was provided. Later that month the site advertised financial aid opportunities.
As of June 2011, the site again redirected to www.house.com.
As of May 2013, the domain was parked, displayed a picture of the White House and text advertisement 'search results' relating to the White House, Washington D.C. or adult services.
This type of behavior with trademarks led the United States government to the passage of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. The ACPA, however, protects only the registration of trademarks as domain names and would not help the U.S. government with the registration of the names of its offices or agencies.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2008)|
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- LaMonica, Gabe. "Vatican.xxx not a porn site, Holy See happy to find." CNN. December 22, 2011. Retrieved on December 26, 2011.
- Tynan, Dan (2006-09-15). "The 25 Worst Web Sites". PC World. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- Ruff, Charles F.C. (1997-12-08). "Whitehouse.com letter from the White House". CNET News.com. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- Bridis, Ted (2004-02-11). "Whitehouse.com to get out of the porn business". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-07-13.