Church Loses Domain to a Porn Site

November 21, 2006 by

Here’s some bad news for your marketing efforts: You lost your domain and a porn site snatched it up. Too bad you just handed out fliers at the local Apple Harvest Day with the old site–now sending lots of unexpecting potential visitors to a porn site. Doh.

True story. It happened to Hope Community Church in Dover, N.H. The mix-up happened when the church was switching Internet service providers and the ISP that sold the url admitted fault. But it’s still a good lesson for any church–especially if your annual domain renewal could easily get overlooked by a non-techie staff member or volunteer who hasn’t had the time lately. (link via Cory Miller)

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Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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10 Responses to “Church Loses Domain to a Porn Site”

  • A.B. Dada
    November 21, 2006

    I hate to say it, but there is no excuse for this to happen. Your website is like any property you own — you have to make sure the funds are available to maintain at least the “title.” I tell all congregations I work with to register for a MINIMUM of 10 years (lock in the price today). What does that cost? $70? How can a congregation NOT do that… Don’t say budget — if you don’t have $70 to lock in your registration, don’t do a website.
    If the ISP is at fault, they can fix it. I had an ISP accidentally transfer 2 of my domains to someone else. It took 3 weeks, but they got it back for me.


  • A.B. Dada
    November 21, 2006

    (FWIW, I know that the congregation in the article didn’t stop paying for their domain name, but I hear this all the time with other congregations).
    Also, porn sites don’t pick churchy domain names on purpose to create embarassment — that’s a ridiculous and unfounded claim. Many porn sites will register ANYTHING that comes available that has been around longer than a year. It helps them build traffic because known domain names rank higher in Google searches, etc. I’ve had a few domain names I let expire become porn sites, but they were fairly high traffic and sites that had been around for years. Spammers do it, too. They’re not picking on churches, they’re taking advantage of the fact that someone owned the domain name, which gives the name value to Google and Yahoo in terms fo ranking.


  • Travis
    November 21, 2006

    A perfect example of why techies should use Domain Monitor. It’s free, and it emails you whenever something changes with your domains. I also monitor my friend’s domains so they don’t make this same mistake.
    http://www.domaintools.com/monitor


  • The Aesthetic Elevator
    November 21, 2006

    Dang, reminds me of some recent troubles we’ve had with our new server company. We’ve only been with them about 3 months and have had more down time (their fault) in those three months than the previous six years!
    Last time, someone at the company somehow was able to reassign our domain (which we’ve had for 7 years) without our knowing or permission. And our boss/programmer/techie was out of the country at the time. Very frustrating.
    We’ll be changing server companies.


  • Ricky
    November 21, 2006

    Bwwwaaahaaahaaaa!


  • Will Clarke
    December 29, 2006

    And the original URL is…..?


  • church website templates
    August 17, 2009

    How sad for the church. I am sure that got a lot of attention but not the kind they wanted!


  • affordable church websites
    December 7, 2009

    I was reading the past comments on this and happen to agree with A.B. Dada. It is the long term churches should think about. The problem is that they don’t think they are going to keep their site. For some reason so many churches still think it is a waste of money.


  • Steve
    November 30, 2011

    Wow! Here it is 2011 and was suprised to see comments on the church domain becoming a porn site still out on the net. It’s been more than five years. I guess I shouldn’t be. I was the pastor of the church at the time. We had no idea at that time that you could register your domain name. In our case our domain name was actually sold before our contract ended. I received a call from a lady one day asking me what kind of a church were we? I told her and then she asked if I knew that I website was a porn site? I thought she was kidding. I was at my computer at the time and called up the site while she was with me on the phone. I was shocked to say the least. After hanging up I went to the internet provider.

    I do hope that others have learned from our experience and taken the necessary steps to see that this embarrasing situation does not happen to your church or organization.



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