I've written a fair amount about Sandy Blunt. When I first started writing about him, the former Director of North Dakota's Workforce Safety & Insurance had experienced an incredible injustice at the hands of the state who employed him. I had only met him once, but felt strongly about the terrible way he had been treated. Over time I came to know him well, and today he is a good friend. He and his family have since escaped the confines of the frigid state of North Dakota, and are living in relative happiness in Dallas, TX, where he serves as the Senior VP of Client Something or Other at big data goliath Medata. He is, as many know, a fine and decent man. Yes, I've said many positive things about Sandy Blunt over the years.
And today, sadly, I have to take them all back.
Perhaps I should provide a bit of background on this.
As someone who has been involved in internet development since 1995, I control a fair share of internet domain names. All told, I have about 300 names under my account at my preferred registrar, GoDaddy.com. Many of those names are related to products and concepts here at WorkersCompensation.com. Some belong to people I worked with years ago, and I still take care of their domain name to this day. A few are downright quirky, such as the defensively purchased bobwilsonsucks.com, and bobwilsonisanass.com. The latter I purchased after I was involved in exposing a fake profile on LinkedIn, and my angry target, the person I “outed”, mentioned that domain name as a potential site.
I figured I was better off owning it than someone else.
Several of these domains were purchased on a whim, such as BlackBoxWearables.com, which I purchased after writing an article about how RFID chips could be used as accident prevention and investigation tools when placed in employee gear. CharlieSheenDeathWatch.com was another such impulse purchase, bought at the height of the "Two and a Half Men" debacle, when it looked like Charlie was about to take a long walk on a very short pier. I purchased these domains, as I have many others, using the very convenient GoDaddy iPhone app, which allows me to research and purchase domains in under 30 seconds. I have been known to pull that phone out and demonstrate the strength of that app when friends and I are joking about potential domain name ideas. That last point is a prescient one, and will be useful later in the story.
So, imagine my shock and dismay this past week, when I was reviewing personal expenses from the previous month, and I came across a GoDaddy invoice for a highly unusual domain name. On July 5, 2015, at 10:56PM MST, GoDaddy billed my credit card for the domain name iamawhore.com. That is iamawhore.com. Let me spell that out so you can be absolutely certain you are reading it correctly. The domain name I apparently now own is “I am a whore dot com”.
“What the hell?”, I thought. I never purchased that domain. I would have no reason to purchase a foul and, well, useless domain such as that. My initial thoughts were that my account had been hacked, and someone had purchased that name using my credentials. That didn't make sense, however, as surely a hacker would have produced other havoc beyond a simple and perverse domain name. I decided it must have been a technical error, and that someone else's purchase had inadvertently been entered under my account. That had to be it; there was no valid reason I would have purchased iamawhore.com, and if I had I certainly would've recalled doing it. No, a technical error was the only possible answer.
Then I looked again at the date, July 5, 2015, and started to think about where I would have been, and what I might have been doing that day. It did not take me long to remember that was the day I flew to San Francisco for the 2015 AASCIF Conference. It was an uneventful day with smooth flights and easy ground transportation, followed by a few quiet hours in my hotel room that afternoon. That evening I attended the opening reception, after which I had arranged to have dinner with my friend Sandy Blunt.
At that point, when I thought about that dinner, a queasy feeling started to envelope me.
It's not that the dinner was a negative event. Quite the opposite. It was a great night. Sandy and I were joined by three others that evening, including Ed McBurnie, Vice President of Sales at MedRisk (It should be noted, while all these dinner participants are innocent of any wrongdoing, Ed is incapable of any untoward actions whatsoever. The fact that his company is a long time prime sponsor of this website's CompNewsNetwork, which includes this blog, has nothing to do with his automatic absolution. Really. It is just a happy coincidence). Also joining us was Jessica Smythe (that is not pronounced as the highly pedestrian “Smith”, rather it is the more formal “Smythe”, with a long “I”. Think more Duke of Windsor, less Dukes of Hazard). She is Assistant VP at ISO Claims Partners. Rounding out the dinner cabal was a risk manager for a large hotel group, who shall remain blessedly anonymous, simply because I do not recall his last name. We'll just call him “Starwood Steve”.
The five of us found an excellent restaurant just two blocks from the conference hotel. After the reception we walked down to it, where we enjoyed an excellent meal. McBurnie, it turns out, is quite knowledgable about wine, and he made the initial selection for the group. The bottle was excellent. As was the next. And the one after that. And the one that followed that.
I think you probably see where this is headed.
After dinner one of us had the bright idea to stop by the hotel bar for a nightcap. Starwood Steve, who was not staying at the Hyatt where the conference was located, departed our company at this point and headed back to his hotel. After a round, Ms. Smythe was the next to depart our little group. Sandy followed shortly thereafter, and Ed and I were the last to ride the elevator to our rooms. Ed got off on his floor, leaving me trying to get my room card into the little slot that authorized access to my floor.
In hindsight, I am fortunate I did not spend the entire night in the elevator.
While I thought I remembered everything about the evening, I started to develop the sensation - the vague and foggy memory - that at some point I whipped out my iPhone in response to a joke at the table and bought a domain name. I'm a true techno nerd, and that is what true techno nerds do, particularly when they have been infused with voluminous quantities of excellent wine. It definitely sounds like something I might have done.
I'm sure it was in response to something Sandy Blunt said.
I should note that I am normally very well behaved at conferences, and as a previously acknowledged techno nerd, the iPhone is the only thing I am likely to “whip out” at these events, unlike some of the conference cretins I have blogged about prior. Of course, being the not so proud owner of iamawhore.com doesn't really help me sell that point.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own actions. I guess I can't take back any of the well deserved nice things I said about Sandy Blunt. It is not his fault. Still, this should be a warning for all to heed in the future.
I'm not sure what I can do with my newly acquired domain name. I suppose I could put it up for auction, and hope that a Nevada or Amsterdam based brothel picks it up. It may have some value in the burgeoning “revenge porn” market. Perhaps I could just start using it for my personal email address. “Just email me at email@example.com”. That should evoke a few yucks along the way.
Then again, maybe not.
At least we learned a valuable lesson from this. No matter what, friends shouldn't let friends purchase domain names when drunk.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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