CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Daniel Hartis had $3. Why not, he thought.
Tuesday morning, he went to Go Daddy and bought mistressville.com. On sale. “I had a promo code,” he said.
“There’s a reason Paula Broadwell and Rielle Hunter – mistresses of Gen. David Petraeus and former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, respectively – call Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood home,” the site says in white text over a pink background under a line, in a much fancier font, that reads “Welcome to Mistressville.”
Mistressville is a thing because on Monday, The Daily Beast posted a story that made the connection between the mistresses and the neighborhood that both of them once called home (There’s now a “for rent” sign up at Hunter’s former house). They lived less than two miles away from each other. That has to mean something, the story said.
Charlotteans, often proud of any kind of national attention, ran with it. The Daily Beast story started making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. That’s when Hartis saw it. Then he went to Go Daddy.
If you want to buy mistressville.com, Hartis is willing to sell it. He’s not really sure if the site is worth anything. He doesn't consider this cybersquatting.
Other Charlotteans have tried their hand at cybersquatting, albeit unsuccessfully. During the height of the BP oil spill in late 2010, a guy named Joseph Rollins sent out emails saying he was willing to sell bpcares.com, as well as a whole slew of variations, like bpcares.net, bpcare.org and bpcares.info. I talked to him at the time. He said it would be a wonderful opportunity for BP, or anyone else.
Nobody bought it.
More recently, Vincent Sullivan of Charlotte bought up romneyandryan.com, three days before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney named Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. Soon after, the site showed a picture of the two, along with a note that the domain was for sale.
Romney and Ryan lost the election. Sullivan, according to a WhoIs domain name search, still owns the site. A call to Sullivan today wasn't returned.
Sometimes, a company will make a pre-emptive strike. In late 2010, Wikileaks was said to be set to release embarrassing documents about Charlotte’s Bank of America. It didn’t. But according to Domain Name Wire, the bank decided to keep cybersquatters at bay by buying up domain names that might be critical of its executives.
Hence, Bank of America came to own brianmoynihansucks.com.
Hartis, who lives in Monroe and works in Charlotte, isn’t trying to get rich off of mistressville.com. Instead, he thought it might be able to do some good.
Perhaps a Dilworth neighborhood association could buy it and redirect visitors to its site, he said.
And if nothing happens?
“Worst situation,” he said, “I’m out $3.”