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Sony The Almighty Buck Games

Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues 277

First time accepted submitter Dragoness Eclectic writes Early Tuesday, gamers woke up to find out that they couldn't log in to any Sony Online Entertainment games--no Everquest, no Planetside 2, none of them. Oddly, the forums where company reps might have posted some explanation weren't reachable, either. A bit of journalistic investigation by EQ2Wire came across the explanation: SOE forgot to renew the domain registration on, the hidden domain that holds all their nameservers. After 7 weeks of non-payment post-expiration, NetworkSolutions reclaimed the domain, sending all access to Sony's games into an internet black hole. Sony has since paid up. SOE's president, John Smedley, has admitted that the expiration notices were being sent to an "unread email" address.
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Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

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  • Re:ring ring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaelath ( 2588189 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:01PM (#47471541)

    I immediately thought this too, but you try ringing one of these corporations and see how far you get.

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:06PM (#47471555)

    You want to assign someone to keep an eye on things that can be fully automated? Is your hair pointy?

  • 7 weeks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:06PM (#47471557) Journal

    Wow, giving the company 7 weeks before Network Solutions took the site down? That's going way above & beyond. The average luser like me would be taken down the day of expiration.

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:08PM (#47471565) Journal

    Same thing happened to Turbine a couple years back: DDO, LotR, etc all down for exactly the same reason. You wouldn't think this would be that hard to get right, but chances are no one in dev at either company survived from the early days to when the problem happened, so the tribal knowledge was lost.

  • Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bovius ( 1243040 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:11PM (#47471577)

    This sort of lapse has happened in every company I've worked in, big and small, when the person formerly responsible for this kind of thing leaves the company and someone else has to pick up their responsibilities. Sloppy, unorganized? You betcha. Also what I've come to expect.

  • Re:ring ring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:15PM (#47471599)

    you try ringing one of these corporations and see how far you get.

    Exactly. Unless you know someone or have some inside connections, it is virtually impossible to contact someone, who actually knows something, using publicly available information. And I'm sure that NetworkSolutions really doesn't want to spend time calling everyone who lets their registration lapse.

    The real problem is that Sony couldn't be arsed to register the domain names using a working e-mail address that actually goes to the person at Sony who is responsible for such a thing.

  • Re:ring ring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:24PM (#47471647)

    ]The real problem is that Sony couldn't be arsed to register the domain names using a working e-mail address that actually goes to the person at Sony who is responsible for such a thing.

    Not quite, it should be a special purpose email like rather than an employee email. However the special purpose email should forward to those responsible, involved or overseeing the particular thing. The special purpose email should not be something that someone is supposed to log in to.

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:25PM (#47471649) Homepage Journal

    " simple spreadsheet to track something"
    that is the bane of corporations. Important info sitting in a spreadsheet, somewhere.

  • by Rone ( 46994 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:46PM (#47471737)

    If the address was unread now, it must have been monitored originally.

    What are the chances that the original recipients were RIFed at some point to goose the quarterly numbers?

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:57PM (#47471795)

    When I fire someone, I redirect their email to their supervisor. It's right there in their employment contracts that their work email address and any correspondence are the property of the company (as if that wasn't obvious, but CYA applies). For things like this we have title addresses like, etc. which are broadcast to several staff responsible for the management of such affairs.

    Also payments such as these are lodged in our recurring expenses ledger and paid by accounts payable. You can't incur recurring expenses here without making a ledger entry as the account would not get paid thus the domain name would never have been registered. I guess if you were a total dick you could try and sneak a recurring expense invoice past AP as an NRE, though I kind of hope our AP people are clueful enough to catch shenanigans of that sort.

  • "Hilarity Ensues" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:08PM (#47471849)

    Hilarity Ensues

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Now, if some domain squatter had taken over the name the moment the domain expired, that would be funny. Giving them 7 weeks is just ... well, sad.

  • Also human (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @10:21PM (#47472179)

    Anyone on Slashdot who gets smugly superior about this and how "stupid companies are" is just being a hypocrite. We have ALL forgotten things in our lives. We've all forgotten an event we were supposed to be at, a bill we were supposed to pay, something we were supposed to bring with us. It happens.

    What's more, everyone has been in a situation where something didn't happen because they, and everyone else, assumed someone else was going to deal with it. You don't go and check on everything that ever happens around you or involving you, you mentally categorize things you are and are not responsible for and ignore the latter.

    So ya, companies, which are made up of people, can fuck up too. It's amusing, but perfectly normal.

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Titus Groan ( 2834723 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @11:12PM (#47472375)
    have you heard of automated systems breaking? this is why someone should be assigned and responsible for it.
  • Re:Also human (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @11:49PM (#47472475)

    Thats why you build in redundancies.

    Companies are STUPID because they've gotten hooked on the idea of "employee efficiency" to the point that employee efficiency is being negatively impacted. In the past, when a mistake was made, you could easily nail multiple employees simply because they were supposed to be watching/covering one another. If one (or more) screwed up, it meant the others weren't doing their job so they all got punished. It cost a lot more in payroll, but it made sure the job got done, on time, correctly (as far as procedures were concerned). Nowadays, GM can't even find ANYONE to pin the blame on for the ignition switch recalls.

    So yeah, companies can fuck up too. But when you can't even find someone within the company you can point to say "that person is the one who fucked up", what does that say about the company?

  • Re:Also human (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @01:39AM (#47472761)

    This. A billion times this.

    Corporations are stupid for simply assuming that people are automatons. You come to work and do it flawlessly, always following the ISO 9001 standard. Yeah. Sure. And monkeys fly out of my butt.

    People are people and people are making mistakes. Always. Every single day. Anyone in security learns that VERY quickly. And he also learns quickly that you cannot trust humans to be flawless. Not because people are stupid but because people are NOT automatons and make mistakes. Yes, even (actually, especially) if doing the same job for ages. Show me a person who makes no mistakes and I show you a person who does no work!

    Security is FINALLY starting to get wise and build systems that are tolerant of human error. Let's see how long it takes 'til the rest of the system catches on.

  • Re:Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryogenix ( 811497 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @02:20AM (#47472857)
    100 year registration is dirt cheap compared to what happened as a result of it expiring :)
  • Re:Black hole? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryogenix ( 811497 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @02:28AM (#47472879)
    It wouldn't hurt to have a distribution group for this and then make yourself and others a member of the group, even if it's your boss. Best case scenario, he gets the alert and says, Bob, did you see the alert about... Already took care of it this morning. Good man.
  • Re:Also human (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @04:43AM (#47473219)

    The whole point of having a corporation (or any other sort of team for that matter) is that you find ways to be less failure-prone than you are as individuals. You have to do this to offset the fact that a failure of the group affects every member - the cost is multiplied.

  • by RoloDMonkey ( 605266 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @08:45AM (#47473839) Homepage Journal

    I have been doing web work for a decade, and I can tell you this happens all the time. In fact, older employees in marketing have told me horror stories about 800 numbers and mailing addresses that were never set up, misprinted, or never updated.

    I always tell clients that they should set up emails that describe the job/function, like and, and make sure that those emails go to a distribution list that goes to at least two people.

    You wouldn't believe how often critical accounts and webforms are only accessible with the email addresses of Sally the Secretary or William the Webmaster. When they leave, no one knows there is a problem, until it is a big problem.

System restarting, wait...