If you head to the Web address for the Augusta Economic Development Authority, you’ll instead see a site in Japanese that loosely translates to an interest in flier printing.
The authority spent the New Year’s holiday transferring to a new Web site and changing staff e-mail addresses after its domain registration company failed to renew www.augustaeda.com, said Executive Director Walter Sprouse.
The authority is now at www.augustaeda.org, a domain that it already possessed, Sprouse said.
The loss of the old Web address seems to be a consequence of the Sept. 11 crash of GoDaddy, the site’s registration agent.
“It screwed up millions of e-mails for a day, including us,” Sprouse said. “What GoDaddy told us was that about 2,000 accounts did not get put back on the automatic renewal. And we were one of them.”
After the Web site didn’t renew on the day before Christmas, it was snapped up by another entity.
Sprouse said he didn’t know of the nonrenewal until his e-mails stopped and he checked with GoDaddy.
“Apparently this happens often, where someone will buy a domain name and holds onto it,” Sprouse said.
Someone affiliated with the hacking collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down the Web hosting company for several hours Sept. 11. GoDaddy, which hosts about 53 million domain names, later claimed the issue was a series of internal network errors, not hacking.
GoDaddy is in the process of getting the old domain name back, but it will take the rest of the month.
Sprouse said the decision was made to transfer from the “.com” to the “.org” on Monday because the authority couldn’t go that long without a Web site or the ability to have e-mail.
Sprouse said the fortunate part of the mix-up is that it happened during the Christmas and New Year
holidays, the quietest part of the year for the authority staff.
“It had no impact on our operations … If it happened during a busy week in August, we would have been seriously affected,” Sprouse said.
When the authority reclaims www.augustaeda.com, Sprouse said, the technical staff will set up a redirect to www.augustaeda.org.