Conspiracy theorists have a habit of revealing the darkest side of the Internet when they snatch up important website names after national tragedies. Slate‘s Dave Weigel highlights one quick-thinking Californian who wasn’t about to see conspiracy ‘kooks’ desicrate the memories of those killed in the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Jaimie Muehlhausen bought BostonMarathonConspiracy.com before anyone could use it as a search-engine optimized sounding board for their crazy views. The website now just has a simple message:
I BOUGHT THIS DOMAIN TO KEEP SOME CONSPIRACY THEORY KOOK FROM OWNING IT.
PLEASE KEEP THE VICTIMS OF THIS EVENT AND THEIR FAMILIES IN YOUR THOUGHTS.
“Sadly, one of my first thoughts was that it would only be a matter of hours before a certain group of people would begin to say it was a government conspiracy; an act of terror on our own people for political gain,” Muehlhausen explained in an email to friends.
Her insticts appeared to be confirmed when he began seeing conspiracy theories about the Boston bombing creep into the public sphere. “So, I went back to my desk and quickly bought the domain for BostonMarathonConspiracy dot com and and posted a simple message saying that I purchased it only to make sure the kooks don’t get it.”
Indeed, TechCrunch was alerted to so-called “cyber-squatters” who were purchasing high-value URLs, such as bostonbombing.net, immediately after the incident. This isn’t the first time cybersquatters have attempt to profit from a crisis. After the Sandy Hook massacre, one man began selling SandyHookMovie.com for $200, in a depraved attempt to make a profit off of those who might think about making a movie honoring the victims.
Thankfully, sometimes good people are also clever. Muehlhausen concludes his letter, “Since I woke up this morning, I have received another large number of emails, some from reporters, but most from people with a quick, simple message of thanks. I didn’t do it to be thanked. I just did it because it seemed like the right thing to do.”