NEW “PARKED” SITE POPS UP

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By Amy Sharaf

Weeks after CCS sent an e-mail warning students and staff about a fake Ryerson website, another site has surfaced.

And there isn’t much the university can do about it. Ryeson.ca is similar to Myryerson.ca, the page which prompted Computer and Communications Services to send an e-mail of warning to students and staff on Dec. 16. CCS was not aware of this new site and has not issued a warning.

The university is monitoring the site, but the sites are part of an an emerging problem, Ryerson Spokesperson Bruce Piercey said. “It seems part of today’s web world (that people) see an interest in taking a part of your name and making a website out of it for their own benefit,” he said.

“It’s an annoyance for us and for people who are trying to reach us, so it’s not something we’re too happy about.”

Robert Montgomery, who registered the site out of Calgary, would not make himself available for comment. Like Myryerson.ca, this recently discovered site has links to “Courses” and “Blackboard.” These lead to links for companies that pay to get “click-throughs,” which are “designed to drive traffic to another site and increase hits on a page,” said University of Toronto e-commerce and internet marketing lecturer Tim Richardson. “For an institution like Ryerson, there’s not a lot that can be done about it,” he said.

“Because that name is the name of an individual person that’s been lent to the university, a word like Ryerson would be very difficult to control access to.”

The university will take action if the sites violate any laws, Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said. “We have tried to find it and to the extent that we feel there is a legal issue with regard to infringement on our name or our brand, we’ll take action,” he said.

While “parked pages” lead to empty sites, active sites such as Ryeson.ca are also detested by search engine people because they can clog up legitimate search engine rankings, Richards said. “When you go looking for something, if it’s not on the first three pages, you try (your search) again with different words.

“If you don’t rank high on one of the first ones, you don’t exist.” He added that speculation of which URLs may come to be in demand may cause people to scoop up potentially popular names. “People watch American Idol 3, they find the names of the four people that can do the semis and that night one person goes on Internet.com and buys trade names,” Richardson said. If names are taken, variations such as Ryeson.ca become the next best thing.

Third-year Mechanical Engineering student Andy Bolechowsky says he hasn’t visited either “fake” Ryerson site and is less than impressed.

“It’s kind of annoying because it’s restricting you from doing what you want to do,” he said.

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