Investigation: Fly On the Wall

1. This website reports itself to be “FlyOnTheWall - the digital broadcasting company.” Clicking the “About Us” link takes me to a biography of the company that claims to specialize in “professional video production, broadcasting and streaming media solutions” and was founded in 2001. A link called “Showreel” promises a 2 minute presentation in various video formats. Since I’m not sure I trust this site yet, I choose to not try these downloads. They may be the same video that plays automatically on the “Home” tab (which is also found by trimming the URL down to the last slash), where there is another biography and a list of the company’s more prominent clients. The “head office” is in London; telephone, email, and physical address are given. There is a “Contact Us” tab with the same info. There is also a separate contact for “media enquiries.” The email address is for info@flyonthewall.com while the site itself is a .tv, so I navigate to flyonthewall.com and end up on an identical site (not an URL redirect).

2. A “Whois” search via Network Solutions reports a “Referral URL” of ENOM, INC., at http://www.enom.com. Enom.com appears, on visiting the site, to be a domain name registrar along the lines of GoDaddy or Register.com. While Network Solutions did not make this readily available, going to http://whois.enom.com gives registrant name and address. The name is Jason Gleave, the same person as the media contact on the site, but with a different London address. Jason is also featured in the video. The registrant email is at issociate.com, which appears to be a German domain name registrar site (issociate.com directs to issociate.de, .de is a German top-level domain, although there is, of course, no guarantee the company is actually in Germany).

3. Iana reports (http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/tv.html) that .tv is a country code for Tuvalu, owned by the country’s Ministry of Finance and Tourism. I know from past experiences that .tv domains are often sold to organizations outside that country with revenue partially supporting the small nation. Organizations buy .tv domains because they like the association of “.tv” with “television” and the organization has something to do with television or television programs.) Iana links to www.tv, which shows VeriSign manages the sale of .tv domains (“.tv is powered by Verisign”) and promotes to television (online or traditional television) producers. .COM is a generic top-level domain also managed by VeriSign. .DE is, as mentioned above, a German top-domain, owned by DENIC eG.

4. The http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/visual-tracert/ trace and the Windows-based trace (typing tracert 95.143.172.50 into the command line; the IP address was found with the “ping” command) both show that the site provider is in Germany. This does not necessarily tell me much about the owners though, as the site can be hosted by any company, anywhere. (Traces of my own personal websites point to Canadian hosts, while I live in the New York.)

While the website is hosted by a German entity, shown by the trace and by the Whois information, the business featured on the site itself purports to be based out of London. Again, a site can be hosted anywhere, but it is slightly suspicious that an English company would not use an English host. There could be many reasons for this, though--such as some financial benefit--so I cannot draw any conclusions. The .tv domain is not relevant to the business, as a .tv domain does not mean the business is based out of Tuvalu. In fact, the most important lesson of this exercise may be that the domain codes and origins have little bearing on the site or its creators. I personally own .com and .org names, and I am neither a company or an organization. The business bought the .tv domain, the com domain, and likely others of the same name--a common practice. On the site itself, I saw nothing that indicated disingenuousness. The site offers professional references that one could follow up with to test the validity of the business. Still, the site itself is not evidence that the business is legitimate.

University at Buffalo

Who am I? I am a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, earning my MLS. I am also the Interlibrary Loan Specialist at SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam. For more, see my CV.

The one and only. Google my name and every result on the first page should be me, or my Great Grandfather, Glen F. No, I'm not counting the Glenns.