Donuts this week announced the sale of 7 .news domain names to Webseed in a 6-figure deal that happened in 2017 with websites appearing for the domain names earlier this year. But has Donuts gained “a six-figure price” but just hurt the top level domain’s reputation by selling, and promoting the sale of, such prominent domain names to a company that has no news credibility and could easily be described as provider of clickbait and science denials?
The domain names sold were science.news, food.news, health.news, medicine.news, pollution.news, cancer.news and climate.news. Each domain name hosts a cookie cutter template website with news of questionable value. At best the news is just a compilation of news from other sources with lots of copying and pasting. The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, El Pais or Le Figaro they aren’t.
Webseed of course see it differently.
“In an age of ‘fake news’ and too much clutter, we want to offer readers high-quality, fact-based news content,” said Mike Texas, WebSeed founder and chief executive officer in a news release published by Donuts. “Use of the .news top-level domain supports our strategy of making our news sites easily discoverable, highly relevant and topically focused. This is only just the beginning for us.”
Looking at the sites put up, climate.news seems to be one of the worst with stories denying climate change and spruiking how great Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief who recently resigned after a string of scandals, among which it’s been reported include renting a heavily discounted condominium from a major oil lobbyist, spent hundreds of thousands on first class flights, chartered jets, paid for expensive renovations and refused to fly economy class, had a security detail that cost taxpayers millions, regularly sent staff out to get protein bars, cookies and yoghurts for him from upmarket grocery chain Dean & DeLuca and sent his security detail on bizarre personal errands, including fetching him hand lotion that is only available at Ritz Carlton hotels, gave his personal aides massive pay rises, used EPA resources to try and get his wife a high paying job and made EPA staff charge his hotel rooms to their personal cards, and then refused to reimburse them.
Texas, as Kieren McCarthy notes, “also owns and runs Trump.news.”
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