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Gail.com FAQ (gail.com)
926 points by weatherlight 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 209 comments

Reading this felt like a trip through a portal into the nascent Internet in late 90s. I hope this never goes down.

Yes, this reminds me of 190 Bowery, a building in NYC that some photographer bought for $102k back in the 70s. He finally caved in though selling it for $55m in 2014. https://ny.curbed.com/2019/7/31/20732103/jay-myself-document...

Jay Maisel was the buyer. The story behind it is phenomenal. I highly recommend the documentary, "Jay Myself".


I did Jay's workshop back in the 90's. He completely changed the way I look at photography and I was an assistant to Ansel Adams primary printer.

The building was in the news again last week because it was leased as a sort of “WeWork for crypto” and had to shut down given the market downturn. https://www.coindesk.com/web3/2023/01/03/web3-co-working-hub...

Wonder who bought it …

I worked a block away in 2017-8, when the street-level floors housed retailer Totokaelo (RIP). I'd go window shopping just to be able to explore it a bit.

The basement held a giant vault, converted to shoe merchandising duty [1] … an apt commentary in the late aughts (and now, for that matter).

[1] https://i1.wp.com/gothamtogo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/... via https://gothamtogo.com/germania-bank-building-190-bowery-is-...

According to wikipedia, maintenance cost was $300k per year. Quite a feat, owning it for so many years.

This is incredible. Thanks so much for sharing!

My favourite 90's style website, that's still running, is http://www.armory.com/armory.html , complete with FTP Index and user finger files.

Man I miss backspacing through a URL and sometimes hitting an FTP page with files I wasn't necessarily supposed to be able to download. Halcyon days.

Pointing ftp client to blahblahblah.com was like a treasure hunt.

or just a browser with ftp://

Funny, my first dial-up ISP was halcyon.com (later Northwest Nexus/WinStar) in the Seattle area around 1999/2000. Halcyon days indeed!

Can't forget https://stallman.org/ if we're talking about the 90s

Tbh I'll take that over any SPA that breaks my browser default behaviour.

My only complaint is it goes full wide screen. If he put a limit on the width the text expands to so it was readable on large screens that would be perfect.

No, the page layout is likely designed to be readable on anything that speaks HTTP. Including text-based browsers, mobile devices with low bandwidth and performance, screen readers, etc.

All you have to do to get the text width you want is resize your browser window.

None of those things are harmed by putting a maxwidth that limits the line length to something reasonable for the viewport size.

Reminder / warning: jwz.org redirects incoming traffic from HN to an NSFW image.

You're spoiling the fun!

On second thought, I'd rather see the hairy nut in an egg cup than have to listen to RMS singing that.

for the uninitiated, you're looking for an audio file at the above link. you need to delete your HN referrer in order to do that because jwz is a "special" kind of adult.

For those who don't know how to do the above, simply open the link in a private window.

Or just copy it to the clipboard and paste.

The trouble is that everyone else's idea of "reasonable" is about 1/3 of what I want. You can all make your browsers narrower, but I've got no way to make your sites wider :(.

But then you have to resize it every time you visit a site that can actually make use of the full width, which is frustrating.

Don't forget Larry Wall's page: http://www.wall.org/~larry/ :-)

OMG, I forgot about GeekCode :)

Maddox is a huge ass but his site is still updated from time to time


He has posts from 1998 to 2020 but I'd say he still actively posts. He's just run out of things to say. lol

My gosh, I forgot about this one! Thanks for reminding me/us!

Blocked by our company filter as an "adult" resource, so you might have to add a NSFW warning there.

The Armory is a long-time host of various purity tests[1], which is probably why it's filtered.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purity_test

There's nothing actually NSFW at the link, just your filter being overzealous

Perhaps they are confusing it with the San Francisco Armory, a historic building the NIMBY neighbors blocked from being converted into housing so a porn company bought it instead and turned it into a production company instead.

Not anymore I’m afraid. Sold in 2018


Yes. I guess a few years of this was more than even the NIMBYs could take. It's now owned by some capital group seeking to build housing there, but new NIMBYs will come to the fore to block it, and the combo of declining SF real estate prices and rising interest rates may well make the project unviable, since a developer has to pay interest for a decade or more while stalling tactics delay approval.

They used to host their own servers there, but it went the way of the cloud.

Can't think why they'd add NSFW to that site, it's a plain text site primarily. I guess there may be something NSFW in the FTP archive somewhere, but I think that's probably an overactive filter.

> Can't think why they'd add NSFW to that site

As someone already mentioned nearby in the thread it could easily be something in the “purity test” content that has tripped an automatic naughty word filter.

It could even be the name of the site, depending on the location weapons and such might be considered NSFW (or for overly strict companies, not-relevant-for-work-we-dont-know-why-you-are-wanting-to-look-at-it-in-work-time!).

If you'd actually checked the site you'd know it wasn't NSFW.

They'd have to be able to access it to know that...

> I hope this never goes down.

I'm afraid it just has.

Perhaps it'll go up again eventually. In the meantime, the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20230106230031/https://gail.com/

Cool to see the archive history for it! 6,520 captures, back to December 1998, which just has a parking page on it: https://web.archive.org/web/19981206131432/http://www.gail.c...

EDIT: Oh neat, the FAQ's changed over the years too.


Q: Gail, your website contains some pretty controversial stuff; aren't you worried about laws like SOPA being passed?

A: Yes, if SOPA passes, my little piece of the 'net could be blacklisted. This is why I urge you to please support the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who will fight to protect your rights from the corporations who seem to have Congress in their pocket. Here’s a link to the EFF’s website where you can learn more: http://eff.com


Q: Why isn't there any content here?

A: All personal web content is hidden on back pages to conserve bandwidth.

Q: Wow, you have a great website, can you suggest others like yours?

A: Yes, here's one of my favorites: http://purple.com

Q: Gail, what is your take on the CISPA bill?

A: Like SOPA and PIPA before it, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) attempts to further errode our rights on the 'net. Also like SOPA and PIPA, we should do our best to inform ourselves and others, and kick this bit of evil to the curb before it can even come to a vote in Congress.

In short, CISPA is a very broad and loosly written law that allows any private company to give any and all data it has collected on you and give it to the government without any kind of judicial oversight. This is some seriously scary Orwellian stuff our own government is trying to implement, and it needs to be stopped.

To start educating yourself about what's going on, please read this great Wired article about the massive data center the NSA is building in Utah to house and data mine your personal data (e.g., telephone calls, e-mail, credit card charges, etc.) This article was written by James Bamford, who literally wrote the book about the NSA back in the early eighties. Once you've read the article, head over to the Democracy Now website and watch the interview with William Binney, who worked for the NSA for almost forty years and provided Mr. Bamford with some of the information for his article. Want to help do something about this knuckle-headedness? Head over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation website and learn how to help.

(Both the CISPA and SOPA questions are gone by 2014 and replaced with the EFF "ad".)

The current state aside from traffic numbers seems to have come in around 2018-19: https://web.archive.org/web/20190127034732/https://gail.com/

> A: Yes, here's one of my favorites: http://purple.com

purple.com has since caved.

> I'm afraid it just has.

Nice work, everyone.

It definitely brings back a lot of memories.

Sort of related: https://asdf.com/asdfemail.html is still going strong.

"You would never guess how many people use asdf@asdf.com (or some variant form) as a filler email address across the Internet. Opening up @asdf.com lets in hundreds of email messages a day pertaining to porn site registrations, real audio downloading, mailing lists dealing with Windows NT ... the list goes on and on! If you would really like to send us an email, you can do so here."

This opened up my eyes. My pseudo is "ploum" and I have the ploum.net domain since 2006/2007. I’ve used the ploum@ploum.net adress for years but it became unbearable regarding spam.

It took me this post to make the link that, in France, "ploum ploum" means "whatever random thing" and that surely people are filling "ploum@ploum" as a random address in every web form.

Must be even worse for the ploum.com domain.

That's a weird take. I am French, I have never heard (except for Téléphone's song) that expression. The closest thing that comes to mind is "plouf plouf".

Wouldn't it simply be because you have been using (and publicly disclosing) that mail address for quite some time and it probably became part of each and every email list script kiddies are able to get their hands on?

French canadian here and same comment, ploum does not mean anything. Even plouf (for us).

Belgian here. I don’t use "ploum ploum" either (else I would never have this pseudo) but realized over the years that a number of people use this expression. (look on twitter for "ploum ploum" for example).

And, yes, lot of spam is because this email was in multiple exposed account but I’ve received lot and lot of "fresh subscription/confirm your emails" where it was obvious people were simply writing whatever in a field.

This is the explanation:


Ploum-ploum is only used in the south-east of France.

A person I know whose initials are actually ASDF complains that it’s always taken as a user name.

(Although she does enjoy initialing things with just her first and last initial - AF)

Used to work for a software company in 2008 or some such. Back when IBM acquired the company, two remarkable things happened:

One, I heard Microsoft's Ballmer shout through a conference phone (MS had wanted to acquire it, too, but IBM prevailed).

Second, and within context here, I quickly excused myself from the all-hands and discovered that IBM had failed to get the ibm-whatever.com (or was it ibmwhatever.com? not sure) domain.

So I registered it. The next year, I would get loads of miss-guided and personal mail. I used to joke that I was now much better informed about product road-maps than when I was employed there.

My intention with the domain was to hand it over to IBM anyway, for a shirt and some pens or some such token. However, I was informed that much like the US government with terrorists, IBM does not negotiate, and would likely send me the lawyers instead of a shirt. So I caved to the suspected chilling effects proactively, and let the domain expire after a year.

Oh their real email is absolutely brilliant :)

Another one that used to amuse me every time I mistook its domain for that of the magazine was http://www.theeconomist.com, but I see it is now long gone.

Here is an Archive link for reference: https://web.archive.org/web/20130119083638/http://www.theeco...

http://steam.com/ used to be similar, but apparently they sold out later. I guess nothing is permanent.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20161013203919/http://www.steam....

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20220730090724/http://www.steam....

(The site is offline at the moment.)

I think this is a good example of how if your desired username/domain is already taken, there’s usually a clever tweak you can do to get a similar one that works. In the case of Steam they went with “steampowered.com” instead.

It makes me wonder why so many people go with like “firstname225” rather than spending a couple of minutes coming up with something little bit less silly-looking. In fact there was a funny thing for a while where a user iterated through all the @kevin(number) Twitter users every Friday: https://www.gawker.com/5895578/weird-internets-how-one-man-i...

There are like 8 billion humans alive at any given moment though, so this trick doesn’t scale for usernames. “Just be a little creative” has been extremely unlikely to work for years now at say…gmail

Wow... can't afford to drop $100MM on a guy for a domain on $6BB net? Dicks.

Fun story. Back in day when bitflip domain research was released, I immediately offered it as a service to our customers. Register all available likely typos and bitflips. Computers flip dns lookip bits /surprisingly/ often. Run email, web, and other collectors. See what you get. We got so much legit data. The real good was owning those domains, but it was amazing to see how much compromising and sensitive data we collected for customers over the years. Widespread TLS helps, but it turns out they just want valid TLS… so for some of the hottest domains we would get certs for email, etc. fun stuff. You can still do this today, especially for newer companies.

> Computers flip dns lookip bits /surprisingly/ often.

Thought 1: is this because of the source/destination computer; or is this because network middleboxes, as embedded devices, are budget-optimized, and so are maybe running their CPUs at funny voltages, with low-quality RAM, etc; and DNS, as a UDP protocol, does little to prevent packets from mutating on the wire?

Thought 2: Presumably this would imply that DNS results would get bit-flipped just as often as DNS queries, no? So you'd just as often be receiving A records for bit-flipped IPs. Which you can't really do much about.

The requesting computer has a bit flip and requests the wrong domain. It even is not stopped by HTTPS depending on where the bit flip happens and how the software is written.

Is there any data to support the hypothesis that this happens often? I've never experienced it without being a human typo. I find it hard to believe in this day and age we have a single service that has high error rates no one notices.

There are plenty of substitutions that are plausible as a bit-flip but much less plausible as a human typo. For a popular service or large company, the percentage of such errors can be very small while still resulting in a high absolute number of misdirected e-mails.

My own anecdotal experience. The talk. We essentially registered some popular domain bitflips, set up some honeypot style collectors and listened. Saw way more traffic than we expected and decided it was worth offering to customers ad a proof of concept, some stuck with it for some time. Now there is a cottage industry around “domain protection” and really all you have to do register your bitflip and typo domains if you are a big company or service provider where this matters. But it was fin demonstrating the why to them :)

The trick was that over a large number of machines it becomes likely to happen.

Everyone needs a little punk in their life, and this is punk. "I ain't gonna be part of this system. Maaaaaaannn."


"My dad's not a phone. Duhhhh!" LMAO

GAIL[1] is also the name of a publicly traded Indian Oil Company. Just like most pre-Internet companies that "comes online", they also went with gailonline.com just like how SBI went with sbionline.com. However, for SBI, I saw recently that they have become pretty Internet savvy -- they own the `.sbi` TLD.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAIL

Also a bakery chain in the UK, https://gailsbread.co.uk/ (Gail.co.uk is squatted by a speculator).

I've always heard the bakery referred to as "Gail's"

> how SBI went with sbionline.com

It's actually onlinesbi.com

It now forwards to onlinesbi.sbi SBI Bank owns the tld .sbi

I feel like the huge number of modern TLDs make it harder to spot fake sites and dangerous pages.

This GAIL came to my mind as well. I feel there is no reason for GAIL (India or Brasil) to have a .com email domain since they don't really depend on internet traffic for their day to day business.

> However, for SBI, I saw recently that they have become pretty Internet savvy -- they own the `.sbi` TLD.

Non-classic TLDs get the worst search and email filter ratings, don't they?

That gets repeated a lot, but I've never seen a confirmation. There may be a perception like that because non-classic TLD are usually cheaper, which leads to easier spam. But that's still a problem with the specific domain, not the TLD.

The only confirmed thing I heard is manual email filtering where some people don't understand the bias above and ban all non-com/net/gov emails and think they're clever.

Not just manual filtering, there are many automatic/default filters like "KAM_INFOUSMEBIZ = Prevalent use of .info|.us|.me|.me.uk|.biz domains in spam/malware"

It's not a guaranteed strike but I just had a look at the last email I had from a .biz and it got 0.8 added to it's spam score because it had a biz domain. Still got through as it was otherwise legit though.

There is some basis of the fear of new gTLDs being unfavorable. Remeber free-as-in-beer ccTLDs like .tk? They were (are?) indeed ranked lowered than .com et al due to their nature as being too easy for a spammer to have a new domain. Nowadays though most search engines now include age of domain in their ranking algorithms so this is no longer a real issue.

Yes, they do use bank.sbi & bankonline.sbi as redirect on some pages; for banking. For general information, they use sbi.co.in

Any idea how that can be done by entrepreneurs without having $180k in the bank?

Is there a link one can read up on it? This looks like insert free real estate meme to me

It can't be done without paying between 150k and 300k, because that is simply the price for a TLD...

a short how to register your own TLD can be found here: https://dev.to/kailyons/tutorial-make-your-own-top-level-dom...

I have a two-character .org. I've never, in the 25 years I've owned it, gotten a non-scam offer for it. (Not that I'd sell for less than change-your-life money.)

Since you've never taken any of them up, how do you know they are scams? Anyway, a two letter domain could be worth a million dollars to somebody. What is your "change-your-life" amount of money?

Well, it's 3e.org - so number and letter, not letter letter, so probably worth less than that. I would definitely take a million dollars.

I know they're scams because every single one I've ever gotten has eventually gotten to the point of "ok, send us X amount of money first to make this deal start happening".

Sort of reminds me of the foo at https://www.bar.com/

Although Gail seems to be blessed with not receiving most of the email people are sending.

Yeah, I can sympathize... I've been using "jest" as my nickname since college years, like 25 years now.

Now I'm bothered when someone upgrades @jest in their JavaScript project on GitHub or BitBucket

@TODO is a real person on github as well

I made a small fortune off of a website called "utube" on google of all search engines back when youtube.com was taking off.

Wow, that's one of the best misspellings you could have.

Previous discussions of note:

-2021, 109 comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28283890

-2017, 160 comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13817969

I am always happy to see this reposted, though.

An email i got from the moderators

    Hi weatherlight,

    The submission "Gail.com FAQ" that you posted to Hacker News in September 2019 
    (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20956204) looks good, but didn't get 
    much attention.

    Would you care to repost it? You can do so using this link: 

    If you use the same account (weatherlight), title, and URL, the software will 
    give the repost an upvote from the mods, and we'll put it in the second-chance 
    pool (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=[REDACTED]), which will give it a 
    random placement on HN's front page, usually within 24 hours (depending on how 
    many stories are in the pool).

    If you have any questions, please let us know. If you don't want these emails, 
    sorry! Tell us and we won't do it again.

    Thanks for posting good things to HN!

    Daniel (moderator)

I've had a link that did way better in the second chance pool. It was really neat, I wouldn't have guessed it existed until I got the email. Definitely refreshing to have human moderation for things like this.

Wasn’t suggesting you did anything wrong! Just pointing folks to other worthwhile discussions/comments.

Sorry! and no worries!

it reminds me of http://milk.com/faq/

That took me by surprise :D

It's so refreshing to see someone on the Internet not looking to make easy money showing off some lousy advertising. I would love to know more about the author; she's most likely interesting.

Yeah I like the pic of her cat.

it's he. website name is his wife's name.

The author certainly claims to be Gail themselves; note the reference to “my husband”

Ok i could be wrong. Was commenting after reading arbitration documents where respondent is referred as "The Respondent is Kevin Watson"


"The Respondent registered the domain name <gail.com> on April 4, 1996, named after his wife’s given name, as a birthday present for his wife. "

So yes, looks like was wrong. It's his wife's site (A gift)

Yes, that's what the link that you're commenting on says. You didn't need to do any more research, especially not into arbitration documents.

This is awesome.

I have following 2 domains, which are a popular misspellings :)

1. https://geethub.com/

2. https://geetlab.com/

Both of them get non-trivial amount of traffic.

that's cute. I also have


Haha there are easter eggs as well:

> Okay, if you really want to see a photo of my cat and have resorted to looking at the source HTML, here is a photo: https://gail.com/boxcat.jpg

> I have a cat, but she's pretty unexciting by Internet standards.

I beg to disagree, that’s a great cat!

I don't know anything about this Brazilian Gail company, but I hope nobody uses them.

Looking their website, looks like we can all complain at suelen@gail.com.br :))

This reminds me of the old purple.com FAQ: https://web.archive.org/web/20020611055145/http://www.purple...

Sadly I just checked the live site and it appears they did sell out in the end.

Anyone else wish there was an upvote button on the site? Or a guest book, 90s style?

It must have been nice to have been alive in the early internet where barely any domains were taken.

On the bright side domains have been less relevant since the rise of accessing sites via search engines and the move to mobile apps whose stores don't suffer from the squatting issues.

They were much more expensive in those days IIRC - today they are the cost of a couple of coffees, those days they were more like 25% the cost of a new computer... per year! It was also quite inaccessible in terms of purchasing - contracts, call our sales team etc. Things like GoDaddy were still either non-existent or very nascent in the mid-late 90s when I was just starting out as a early teen online.

I had dreams as a youngster of owning my own domain name (just one!) and running my own site there... Now I don't even know how many domains I own!

-- in the early 90s you could easily get domains for free - there were many registrars who would give you free .com or .co.uk in return an iframe that advertised the registrar! - this all but disappeared after 1995 =( --

I remember getting a free .co.uk domain name around the year 2000. Can't remember the business model but it was probably similar to the underpant gnomes.

In the mid to late 90s, domains cost $50 per year, and you had to buy the first two years up front, so a domain cost $100. Nowhere near 25% of the cost of a new computer which were much more expensive back then.

In the UK I recall being quoted about £200 a year for a domain (this may have been direct from nominet or non-consumer company for a UK one - as I mentioned the services in the mid-late 90s were less developed and it was harder to just buy online, especially without a credit card which you cannot have in the UK when under 18). Our pentium PC was £899 IIRC.

When I registered my first one (1993 I think) they were free, you also had to get a (free) class C and someone to route to it

The most famous story that I can think of was the one of the Wired journalist that bought mcdonalds.com and that the company didn't seem to care for a while. Eventually said journalist just gave the domain to them in exchange of a $3500 donation to a public school in NY.

> since the rise of accessing sites via search engines

This is worse as now you have to compete with ads (potentially from scammers) and SEO. At least with domains, once you register all the major misspellings for a nominal fee, the problem is resolved. With ads, it's an auction so you're constantly paying a protection racket to the search engine to outbid the malicious actors.

Thanks to domain squatters, the internet businesses have to come up with weird nerdy names like shopify, YouTube, reddit, hooli etc.

It's more than just domain squatting .. a business often wants a fresh name that uniquely searches to their business.

Once upon a time search for songs by The The on youtube was a nightmare, that, at least, has improved.

but if you run a business, don't underestimate the value of a short, and well-named .com

preferably one without hyphens too.

Is there any research on how the quality of domain for a brand affects its key metrics?

Define "key metrics".

Page visits or leads / sales would be the primary ones.

Fun fact: In the 90's IBM produced a commercial where a young girl is creating her own website, www.duck.com, about ducks. Unfathomably, no one thought to check whether www.duck.com was an actual website, and what if any content might be there if people watching the commercial typed the domain name into their browser address bar.

Turns out www.duck.com was our domain name at "The Duck Corporation", an early version of On2.com, later bought by Google. Google then gifted the domain to DuckDuckGo (try it!)

Sort of a tech company version of Ancestry.com?

I assume Google avoided a significant legal risk by gifting it to DDG

edit: surprisingly, it used to point to Google Search https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/12/duck-com-now-points-to-duc...

Am I wrong to guess that this domain is worth more than a million dollars?

Rejecting that kind of money for making a point is… I don’t know, but it’s definitely something.

Edit: not just rejecting money, but defending it in court!

What they successfully defended in court was a company called GAIL trying to get the domain without paying them for it.

It’s definitely dumb.

Selling out means the domain could be used to hurt people. I call that noble not dumb.

I've rejected offers to buy my domains for small amounts of money. Every possession has some monetary value, and often times that value is more than anyone else would pay for it. I'd sell my domains for the right way-too-high price if someone actually wanted to pay that much for them, I'd also defend them in court if someone tried to steal them from me.

I owned a domain name similar to a popular email hosting service at one time and setup wildcard acceptance of all emails sent to it. The influx of typod emails was hilarious but overwhelming.

I friend of mine has "common short personal name" at icloud.com, me.com, mac.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com, proton, ...

Importantly, one of those is bound to his iCloud account. During the holidays, he has an alternate "burner account", since his account can receive multiple reset requests per-minute for a couple of weeks. He estimates he gets 20000+ reset requests per year. According to him, it's just part of living his best life.

My HN username is what I use for lots of other things, including for older email providers. You'd be surprised how many reset emails I get to that username at various webmails. It's not exactly John Smith.

I am a "J Smith" and my employer has many of us.

Every quarter "we" (the group of specifically-first-named J-Smith's) are sent an email kindly reminding us to change our middle name in the corporate directory to "(Job Title)", to help people disambiguate us. The last time, there were three of us, so I tried to get the other "J Smith"s to change their names to "(Larry)", "(Moe)", and "(Curly)". No luck. There's a new crop of auxiliary "J Smith"s (I'm "J Smith Prime", in my mind), now, so I'm trying to work on them.

One day ... one day.

Oh, I can only imagine how annoyed I'd be with that. That's how I'd end up as "K (Viceroy) Strauser" or such.

https://twitter.com/csch42 have a couple of IPv4 subnets similar to 192.168. https://ipinfo.io/AS20488. In some podcasts he mentioned a lot of invalid requests.

I remember a while back "gamil.com" used to be a website that offered email services.

gmail.it (an italian email provider) website is still active

Perhaps we should start a Go Fund Me to create a permanent endowment for gail.com so that it never goes away. This is a precious piece of internet history that deserves to be preserved for future generations.

Can you imagine - hey hunny, you know that domain name that I bought you ages back? Yeah, well we're getting sued by a brazilian ceramics company...


I knew a guy who worked for a typosquatting firm. They owned many 1000s of domains and made millions of dollars in ads. At least thats what he told me. I wonder if anyone has more intel on this type of "business".

Maybe because I don't understand modern CSS and part of the most new HTML markup, but I kinda enjoy reading this type of source code.

I ignore what standard the page follows but the code looks like it was generated or written by someone with little knowledge about CSS. Among other things, code is duplicated all over the place ; everything is globally centered, before every element being individually aligned to left.

This is what it would look like with proper "boring old" html/css written back in the days https://jsfiddle.net/dgtvjn5x/ (more readable and slightly lighter)

For the sake of completeness:

-it would require a more verbose doctype or none depending on when it was written ;

- the "style" element would also require a "type" attribute until some point in time ;

- "border: none" isn't required anymore, browsers have stopped adding border around images.

PS. this is just a comment about how html/css can still be easy and straightforward these days. I do not mean to undermine the fact that the owner did the right thing with regard to standing for and protecting the domain (and promoting eff :)).

Funny, I read the link as 'Gmail' and didn't realize it was 'Gail' until entering the site.

Why does the website get so many visits? Sorry for the dumb question I think I miss a reference here.

It seems likely that most visitors simply mistype gmail.com and end up visiting gail.com by mistake.

I see. That makes sense. On a related note, I recall that when Gmail came out another domain (Gamil.com) had a funny banner on top saying:"Gamil is not Gmail, but we're glad you're here!".

It's a misspelling of gmail.com

Ah! That makes sense, thanks for clearing that up. I was wondering the same thing and had to search the comments for an explanation

My first thought after reading Gail.com was GAIL a government owned public sector company in India, it mostly deals in natural gas business.


> My husband registered it as a birthday gift back in 1996.

This is the strangest gift I ever saw.

Surely not that unusual to buy somebody a domain of their name? Admittedly quite a techie gift but I’m not sure I’d agree it’s quite as “out there” as you suggest!

mail@gail.com would be such an awesome email address.

Wow, it's such a privilege to own a domain like that and not monetize it.

As the site[^1] is unavailable for me, here's a cache from https://archive.vn/CQVsS

Hello and welcome to the gail.com FAQ.

Q: Why isn't there any content here? Can't you at least throw up a picture of your cat for the Internet to check out?

A: Sorry, I have a cat, but she's pretty unexciting by Internet standards. As for why there is very little content here, we wanted to keep the server's attack surface as small as possible to keep it safe.

Q: Interested in selling gail.com?

A: Sorry, no.

Q: How did you manage to get gail.com?

A: My husband registered it as a birthday gift back in 1996.

Q: How many times a day is this page visited?

A: In 2020 this page received a total of 5,950,012 hits, which is an average of 16,257 per day. Looking at just unique hits, we received a total of 1,295,284, for an average of 3,539 unique hits per day. Occasionally, we get Twitter-bombed and may get several tens of thousands of visitors a day. As an example, on July 21st 2020 we received 109,316 hits.

Q: Why is your website so popular? Are you one of those famous people that no one knows why they're famous?

A: No, I'm not famous. It seems likely that most visitors simply mistype gmail.com and end up visiting gail.com by mistake.

Q: I tried to send some photos to my girlfriend and typed gail.com instead of gmail.com in the address field. The photos were of a very personal nature. Can you please delete them?

A: There are only two valid e-mail addresses on the gail.com domain, so it is extremely likely that your photos were rejected by my e-mail provider and tossed into the bit bucket. Another interesting gail.com factoid: my amazing e-mail provider, ProtonMail, rejects about 1.2 million mis-addressed e-mails per week to the gail.com domain.

Q: I think you're infringing on my trademark...

A: If you consult with someone well versed in trademark law, they will tell you that you can't have an exclusive trademark on a common word or name. My husband and I successfully defended ourselves against an attempted domain takeover in 2006; see WIPO Case D2006-0655[^2] for more information.

Q: Are you interested in monetizing gail.com?

A: No, but thanks for asking.

Q: Don't you know that you could throw some ads up and make money?

A: Yes, I know, thank you. For those who feel they need more advertising in their life, please have a look at our swanky Electronic Frontier Foundation ad below. If you believe in a free Internet, please consider clicking on the link and donating to the EFF.

If you have a question not answered above, feel free to send it to: faq at gail period com. Thanks for visiting.



1. screenshot: https://archive.vn/CQVsS/b0c07d01ede677c3cc5f6d5212430d6a6be...

2. archived case: https://archive.vn/8FaFU

These questions are such typical American logic and why the internet sucks: There exists a thing and so something needs to be done about it. What if they use it to impersonate/phish/etc gmail? It has to be given to google! It happens that some four letter word is my brand, they can't just hold the domain, they have to give it to me! And the old adage "politics is not the solution" really does fix it: domain names are a misconception, use public key based addresses instead. Then there won't be typo squatting, bit squatting, anything. *queue barrage of typical "but what about the dumb user public key is too hard" stuff which all has already been answered ad infinitum*

But you could put ads on it! It's really dumb how people set out to make a blog, then choose one of the free blogging offerings, and since the web is just a bunch of commercial crap, they of course get a commercial platform (instead of how things should be which is something like Freenet and no JS), and then the tutorial tells them how to put ads on and they think "sure why not". That was 10-20 years ago. Of course now if anyone wants to make a blog it was already for profit. This is why the internet is dying and it will be illegal to make a replacement: All these little American-dream people that think its their right to profit off mediocre content are gonna defend any case against the new internet such as "CP" and "copyright" (and any other fabricated "problem", they will just agree with it because they want the new internet dead).

TL;DR the medium is broken and the new american digital worker will legally assault any alternatives

SEE: corp.com

A great read. There's something to be said about being early to the party.

With all that traffic, what is the cost of the hosting?

I wonder how much email they get from gmail typos

Read the page, it's there.

Ah drats -- the page view number distracted me

It's interesting how much difficulty I have reading this page. I've been oddly conditioned to glitzy internet

See also , the long and complicated story of nissan.com and the guy who got sued for using his own family name for a domain

Great sense of humour

Big like ;)



From the page source :)

  <!-- Okay, if you really want to see a photo of my cat and have resorted to looking at the source HTML, here is a photo: https://gail.com/boxcat.jpg -->

it is not "unexciting by Internet standards". what the heck, it is gorgeous.

I find it even technically outstanding. Is that some sort of natural Moire pattern on it's back? Spliced-in turkey genes? I find this cat oddly fascinating.

Maybe it had been sleeping in that box. The cardboard has a similarly distanced pattern.

It's fur waviness, I think.

Yup, not even a SIC but some regal mane cat.

Makes me wonder at how much bandwidth would be consumed by putting an image of the cat embedded in the page, with the volume of unique people typoing gmail.com on a daily basis.

You probably wouldn't want it to be a 8.5MB PNG

That cat definitely is internet fame worthy!

sooooo fluffy <3

From the domain takeover decision:

"vii) it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s trademark considering the fame and tradition of the trademark GAIL;"

Are lawyers allowed to lie like that? It is obviously not unlikely that the someone has never heard of this obscure "manufacturer and distributor of ceramic products for architectural use" company.

I learned that lawyers are allowed to lie like there's no tomorrow, especially in civil cases pre-trial, in my jurisdiction.

This was especially emotionally scarring when I hired a lawyer to rebuke civil claims of several thousand Euros for (supposed) downloading of some TV show episode, a practice which is either considered a national sport, or a major contributor to GNP in Germany (the copyright claims, not the downloading).

The lawyer sent his usual spiel, his €300 template letter to the opposing council, which claimed that I'm a bumbling idiot who has no clue how to power up a PC, let alone plug in a network cable the right way 'round, and thus, can't possibly be guilty of any such shenanigans.

I asked her whether a Linked In-profile that identifies me as a Sys Admin and IT Systems Architect might become a problem with this tale, but various lawyers assured me that this is a highly scripted industry (both the copyright claims and the defenses) and nobody cares. And the scripts are actually legal students sitting at home with access to a fax gateway.

Fascinating. I live in Switzerland where downloading is legal but uploading is not.

So basically if you downloaded a hypothetical torrent, and set upload bandwidth to zero, you‘re safe.

I guess the lawyer could argue that I’m a bumbling idiot who forgot to turn off the upload facility…?

It used to be the same in Germany. There is still the right to "Privatkopie", meaning that one is technically allowed to make both backup copies, and things like a mix tape for a friend. After all, if they denied this, there would be no justification for upholding the leech farm that is GEMA, i.e. the body collecting fees for blank media. These fees are then given to the musicians, fairly (at least if one believes in fairy tales ...).

However, they then decreed that circumventing any copy protection makes this illegal. Also, if the source of the material is "evidently illegal" (i.e. unlicensed), it's not applicable either. So eventually, downloading off of Bit Torrent without ever uploading MIGHT still be legal in Germany, unless courts declare that this constitutes an evidently illegal source.

And that's the other fascinating thing: there are, to my knowledge, no truly binding judge rulings in Germany most of the time. Unlike English-born case law, a judge might rule for a pirate bay downloader one day, and the next judge rule against another downloader the next day, every other aspect of the cases being equal.

Last I heard, some court had opined that even consuming streaming content, like sports, was illegal now, even with no uploading happening, if the source isn't an established, evidently licensed one.

It's a friggin' mine field really.

(edit): Oh yeah right, there's more. I learned during my defense against their claims years back that it's all as horrible as you'd expect from judges mostly clueless about technology, and then some.

Apparently there was precedence for the following: Let's say someone torrents a Miley Cyrus song. I have no idea why one would do that, but for the sake of example, let's assume. Then the music industry would say: "But there is a torrent, or a zip file or whatever, with that song, and 50 others. Because you downloaded that one song, we legally assume that you downloaded the 50 others, too!" There was at least one court decision where this stood. The state has tried to reign in the rampart threats against citizens by copyright lawyers (it's ** publicity when a grandma gets sued for outrageous amounts). The one thing they did was limit damages to a set amount. Then the copyright holders circumvented that with "legal" "theories" such as the one above. That was also why they stopped going after movie shares for some time, and concentrated on those sharing TV series. Many more individual claims of 10k each to be made, when people download a whole series of TV episodes.

I'm also personally convinced after doing some research that copyright holders give material to specialized companies who in at least some cases are then doing the seeding themselves, in order to catch offenders. There is at least one company in Germany where I have strong suspicion of this happening ca. 2012.

> Are lawyers allowed to lie like that?

This is a summary of claims. Lawyers are generally allowed to make claims based on incomplete information which they believe that they can show to the legally-required standard.

Necessarily, in an adversarial proceeding where there is a material dispute of fact, some claims of one side or the other will be rejected.

"my amazing e-mail provider, ProtonMail, rejects about 1.2 million mis-addressed e-mails per week to the gail.com domain."


> "There are only two valid e-mail addresses on the gail.com domain"


> "My husband and I"


> "If you have a question not answered above, feel free to send it to: faq at gail period com"

I wonder if the emails sent to the faq inbox would bounce haha

It goes to her husband, Franklin Albrecht Quade.

Well one of the two email addresses could actually be faq


Had you been raised in a prison, that everything must be transactional?

also, https://www.tandfonline.com/na101/home/literatum/publisher/t...

Maybe the commenter was raised by Wall Street finance persons. Might not be that different.

People like you are why we can't have nice things.

In fact, if they killed the goose, who knows how much gold there might be inside!


The website in this post is not listed there - it may have been useful to fully read the image you linked before posting it.

But it does provide interest perspective on the cost of not owning THE domain name for their company. Perhaps they should rename the company.

Disclaimer lest their be any mistake: I am totally charmed and bedazzled by the real gail.com, and hope that web archeologists of the future will still find gail.com running a hundred years from now. I just thought the post didn't deserve downvotes.

The owner could at least have put a helpful link to gmail.com at the top.

Would have saved millions of minor frustrations for millions of people.

Or, since they seem not to be using the root of the domain for anything but a smug FAQ, just an HTTP 302 redirect.

They are doing a ridiculously great thing with the position they found themselves in and of course people still have criticism about it.

Gail if you do see this you are an absolute badass and a fantastic member of the Internet community, thanks for what you've done here.

American logic. Thing exists, something has to be done about it!

Cry more

Can someone please clarify the USA legal basis

Can anyone sue you for owning a domain and say that it's their trademark ?? I tought that the .com domains were 100% free of that bullshit..or how else is there so many domain shakals reserving thousands of domains..? related to their appeal: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2006/d200...

Not only they can sue you, but they can make your life a living hell if you choose to fight them back. See one of the most famous examples: http://nissan.com/

Given that there's an image on that page that simply links to an expired domain, I wonder if this might be a better source: https://jalopnik.com/uzi-nissan-spent-8-years-fighting-the-c...

>Can anyone sue you for owning a domain and say that it's their trademark

Well duh? Anyone can sue you for anything and say anything.

Why keep the domain if you don't plan on monetizing it? What's the point?

You didn't get money for posting that comment and yet...

It turns out that sometimes people buy things or do things for reasons other than trying to figure out a way to squeeze money out of it.

Why do you breathe without monetizing it? What's the point?

Why do you take a dump without monetizing it? What's the point?

Why do you listen to music, or watch a movie without monetizing it? What's the point?

You must have a very sad life with the world view that you have.

> What's the point?

Being a good example as a citizen of the internet by not exploiting people who mistype the address.

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