Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet Sidney Crosby, the turtle

Though there are ways to challenge domain name squatting now, what sort of options would you have if someone had grabbed your name before you got famous?

If you're wondering what the heck I'm babbling about, take a quick look at Instead of finding the centerpiece of what should be a massive branding campaign for one of the world's greatest athletes, what you'll see more or less amounts to an online diary of a turtle.
The internet's a strange, strange place.

The real Sid Crosby's website is over at, but that's not by choice., along with a host of similar addresses, are all registered to a Gordon Thomas of St. John's, Newfoundland, and the sites were picked up long before Crosby became a star. Created on: 01-16-2002 Created on: 16-Aug-03 Created on: 23-Jun-03 Created on: 16-Aug-03 Created on: 17-Aug-2003 Created on: 17-Aug-2003

And there may be more that I haven't tracked down. Thomas's name is also attached to and, however.

The main site, where our turtle friend resides, was registered when Crosby the hockey player was just 14 years old. At that point, however, he was nearly a household name in the Maritimes after scoring 44 goals in 31 games playing with 17-year-olds in Midget AAA, and attempting to play major junior at 15 in 2002-03. (Like Mario Lemieux, he was denied and Crosby played at an American prep school.)

The content on is truly bizarre, including a recent update on the turtle's new banjo-playing girlfriend. There's a large disclaimer on the site stating the domain is not for sale, indicating the owner's likely had a few offers.

What follows is an email conversation I had with someone purporting to be Sidney Crosby — presumably Thomas (likely), the turtle (not as much so) or the real Crosby (he's a little tied up at the moment):

Mirtle: Hi - would you mind answering a few questions about your turtle website?

Sidney Crosby: That depends; who are you?

Mirtle: I'm a writer in Toronto. I'm curious if you get a lot of offers to purchase your site, and I'm wondering why you haven't sold it?

Sidney Crosby: I receive e-mails from writers with the same questions as you. If you want to write a story, go ahead. But I'm not answering the questions you sent.
Its pretty obvious why it hasn't been sold. Its not for sale. Period.

Mirtle: Interesting. I'm afraid I can't understand why you wouldn't talk about the site, but that's certainly your choice.

Sidney Crosby: The lawyers that represent Sidney Crosby (you know who) have been in touch with the owner of the site via e-mail and phone. Lets just say the conversation wasn't of a friendly nature.

Therefore any questions you may have will remain unanswered.

Please leave it at this.

And so I did.



At 3:01 p.m., May 26, 2008, Blogger Daniel said...

I have tried to purchase a domain of my last name and it was owned by one of f'ing companies that buys last name domains and sells the email addresses. But I remember watching a story on TV where a fan owned some domain of a celebrity and the issue went to court where the celeb won because it was their name and not the loon fan who owned it.

Honestly I don't see the point in owning unless you intend to sell it to him for a lot of money or you run a fan site. Otherwise you just get hits and pissed off people visiting your site which redirects to pics of your ferrets. I would sell it, you can get quite a lot for good ones.

At 3:13 p.m., May 26, 2008, Blogger Dare said...

Earlier this year, Ed Stelmach threatened a UofA student with legal action over

Ah, internet. That's funny though, I'd never checked out who owned

At 3:31 p.m., May 26, 2008, Blogger Derek Braid said...

I'm not sure what it says about the character of a guy desperate to profit from a 14-yo's potential fame. Maybe I'll be nice and call it ruthless capitalism...

At 3:43 p.m., May 26, 2008, Anonymous Phillie said...

Excellent piece of detective work. Just out of curiosity, how many years ago did you register

At 3:53 p.m., May 26, 2008, Blogger odessasteps said...

If the guy is (apparently) not cyber squatting, to take him at his word, I have no real problem with the guy.

It's not like he's running a Sidney fan page or anything or trying to extort sidney for the site.

At 8:26 p.m., May 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because douchebag lawyers will get involved, this guy will lose and private property rights will be further eroded on this country.
I went to high school with Mike McDonald of Jr Gone Wild. He started performing under the name Mike Sinatra. Until the lawyers for the Douchebag of the Board got involved.

At 9:12 p.m., May 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally everyone that claimed he was a turtle is proven correct. Did you happen to find any other unintended sites that link him to diving(maybe he is a dolphin too)?

At 10:19 p.m., May 26, 2008, Blogger Dennis Prouse said...

It has been pretty well established now that cybersquatting on the name of a celebrity will not be tolerated by the courts. At some stage, this guy is going to have to cough up the domain, as well he should. His name is not Sidney Crosby, and he has no right to use Crosby's name to drive traffic to his site, regardless of whether or not there is a profit motive. I have a problem with teams and players getting all heavy handed about fair use of their name, logo, photos, etc., but I would not blame Crosby in the least for being ticked off regarding a cybersquatter sitting on his name, regardless of the circumstance.

At 10:39 p.m., May 29, 2008, Blogger MikeP said...

Cybersquatters just get the name and do nothing with it, except maybe redirect to an ad site. This fellow's doing something with it, and has been for going on 5 years now.

It's not always cut and dried "celebs get the domain name", nor should it be. If you want an example of long-term usage for inappropriate reasons, try thinking of some common TLDs for a certain residence of a governmental leader to our south. (Don't hold me responsible for what you see there, since it's definitely not work-safe.)

That note about the domain name has been up since 2003 as well, incidentally.


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