A Gray, Tennessee computer network designer and anti-speed camera activist received a $90 speeding ticket in nearby Bluff City, and exacted his revenge by purchasing the offending police department's expiring web domain.
Brian McCrary said that he received a letter in the mail from the Bluff City Police Department stating that a speed camera caught him driving 56 mph through a 45 mph zone on U.S. Highway 11E. The camera went active on January 1 and tracked 1,662 speeders during its first six weeks of operation. Speeding citations in Bluff City are typically $90, and the resulting funds are split between the city and the company that operates the speed camera, American Traffic Solutions.
Armed with questions about the ticket, McCrary went to the Bluff City Police Department's website (http://www.bluffcitypd.com) looking for the phone number. However McCrary found something even better--a notice from the website's host--Go Daddy--announcing that the domain name was about to be deleted or sold in 42 days. The site's content was replace by the notice, a typical practice when domains have expired.
McCrary waited the 42 days, and applied to purchase the domain when the Bluff City PD did not renew. After Go Daddy made several final attempts to contact those responsible for the domain and received no response, the company released the domain to McCrary for $80. He then took advantage of the URL and launched a website that offers links to information about speed cameras (such as the one that busted him for speeding), and a forum for visitors to vent and offer additional information.
Bluff City Police Chief David Nelson said that the website's renewal slipped his mind, noting that one of his officers--who was managing the website and its domain registration--was out on long-term medical leave. Nelson admitted that he didn't play an active role in the website's maintenance, and knows very little about computers and what it takes to run a website.
"It’s just one of those things that happen," Nelson said. He added that Bluff City's manager and attorney are looking into the matter to see if the URL can be returned. Currently the police department is working on a new, improved website, hosted with a different company.
McCrary said that he has yet to hear from town officials, however he's received positive feedback from his visitors. The domain has logged 1,200 unique visitors since he took it over May 22.