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BEACON WEB SITE GETS DROP ON COPYCAT.

Byline: JUDY O'ROURKE

Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA -- A popular community Web site that was recently mimicked by a copycat appears to have shut down the imitator, its owner said Tuesday.

Dave Bossert said his two-year-old West Ranch Beacon was stolen by an unknown imitator, who focused on analyzing the founder's often-candid commentaries and criticizing his views.

"The Internet is still the Wild West but there are regulations being put in place there to curb abuses," Bossert said.

The site -- www.westranchbeacon.com -- draws more than 10,000 hits a month and traffic has grown substantially in the past six months, he said. Its offerings include original material, blogs and links to news articles.

Attempting to protect the venture, Bossert registered about 10 variations of his site's copyrighted and trademarked name -- but he seems to have missed one.

The domain name for the imitator site -- alternately called TheWestRanchBeacon, TheWestRanchBeacon.com and TheWestRanchblog -- was registered June 5 by an entity calling itself Westranch Beacon.

Bossert became aware of the imitator June 8 when its creator spammed his site repeatedly. He told the imitator to shut down the next day, and the site apparently closed down June 15.

Whois.net, which gathers information about networks, domains and hosts, shows a Stevenson Ranch address for the copycat.

The copycat's Web hosting company, 1&1 Internet Inc. headquartered in Chesterbrook, Pa., allows people to register domain names with a company name and not an individual's name, said Richard Winslow of the company's customer service department.

Bossert contends that the copycat violates federal law enacted in 1998, which is designed to prevent abusive registering of domain names.

Bossert serves as president of the West Ranch Town Council, which is in the midst of exploring governance options for the west-side communities, including Stevenson Ranch and Castaic.

Bossert's Web site is not affiliated with the Town Council, which will soon launch its own Web site.

judy.orourke@dailynews.com

(661) 257-5252
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 20, 2007
Words:323
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