UPDATED: The South African PS3 Web Domain Is Being Held Hostage – And You Wouldn't Believe How

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UPDATED: We have been contacted by the owner of the ps3.co.za domain who insists that we have gotten the story all wrong. We have posted up additional info at the bottom of the article.

One of our local gamers (@Psyndrome) stumbled onto something and posted it up on Twitter last night that we found pretty damn hilarious, sneaky and interesting… all at the same time!

When you, for instance, type in the URL www.ps3.co.za , where do you think you would end up? The official South African Playstation website, maybe even the local Playstation 3 community blog or even a dedicated local PS3 Blog.

If you haven’t already done so, click that link above and see for yourself, when you are done, keep reading.

We did some investigating to see what was going on.

Ok, so if for some reason you haven’t clicked the link above then *spoiler alert* yes… it takes you to none other than the South Africa Xbox 360 website.

We did some background checks on the domain and the information (it’s here and is available to the public if you want to see for yourself) that we gathered was that the site was registered by a [name removed so Google doesn’t have a field day with it, but it is all still in the public information] back in 2002 already.

We used the web archive website service to take a basic look at what the website looked like back in 2007 and happened to see that even though the contents were of Xbox.com, the website’s title was in fact PS3.CO.ZA FOR SALE.

So what happened here? It seems pretty simple.

We reckon (so take it with a pinch, or bucket, of salt) that basically, the owner used some lightning fingers to register the PS3.co.za domain back when Limp Bizkit was still considered cool in the hopes that Sony / Ster Kinekor would fork over a trazillion monies to get it for themselves.

Unfortunately for him, it seems like they didn’t really care. Now we don’t know if this only happened after the lack of the aforementioned trazillion monies, but at some point he decided to point it at Xbox.com instead. This either happened to make the initial offer feel more necessary, or it was changed after they didn’t bite, in order to gain their attention.

Well, its 2010 and after 8 years I think that its pretty safe to say that it didn’t go according to plan. Well, that’s what we think anyways.

This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened as I also remember when the Playstation launched, SEGA registered the PSX.com (PSX was the early codename for the Playstation which went on to eventually become the name of their PS compatible DVR) domain and pointed it towards their official Sega Saturn website instead.

What do you guys think of the whole situation? Is this guy using underhanded tactics to try and make a buck and at the same time, should SK have gone ahead and picked the domain name up from him anyways?

Thanks again to @Psyndrome who tweeted it and to @FoxOneZA for retweeting it so that I actually saw it.

For those of you looking for the real official Playstation site, you can visit it here: http://za.playstation.com/ps3/

On a final note… how is this even legal?

UPDATED:

So as I mentioned above, we were contacted by the owner of the domain in question. He has told us in an email that he originally owned a gaming store back in the day that focused on the Playstation and then eventually the original Xbox as well.

The domain was apparently registered to help get some traffic pointed towards the store’s website. Since then the store closed down, and we have been told that despite the fact that the 2007 web archive showing the site pointed at Xbox.com, it is constantly pointing to different locations (Playstation site, Kalahari and so on) whenever he remembers that it even exists, and then points it elsewhere.

The owner also let us know that the domain is for sale only for the amount that it has cost him to own it over the years, which sits at R600.00 and that if no-one ever buys or if it sells at only that price, it’s fine.

I did make a point of stating that we believe that having a domain like PS3.co.za point directly towards the Playstation’s main competition was questionable, but the owner insists that “there is no juicy story there”.

If I owned that domain, I sure as heck would want it to sell for a jillion bucks to whoever needed it most, but apparently that’s not the case here.

In anycase, at the owner’s request I have laid out both sides of the story, so you guys can make your minds up about what really happened. I also removed any reference to the owners name at his request as Google is putting this post above all when it is searched for, so we found that to be a fair request.

Last Updated: November 19, 2010

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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