Ghoulish internet opportunists quickly registered dozens of domain names linked to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Some attempted to profit from the murders by selling the domain names on eBay for as much as £25,000.
The shootings were the worst in America's history, leaving 33 innocent people dead. But within hours domain names such as virginiatechmassacre.com, vtmassacre.com virginiatechrampage.com had all been registered.
One seller advertised the domain-names as relating to 'horrible shootings and murders'. He said: "This Premium domain name has so much potential, The Movie, The Book and more."
Some sites, such as virginiatechshootings.com, displayed rudimentary memorials to the victims. The majority, however, displayed only adverts.
Others went further in the quest to make money from the dead, directing viewers to The Etrader, a domain-name reselling site. Etrader advertised several eBay auctions for the domain names – setting a 'minimum price' of $50,000.
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And while some sites to be raising money for the victims, there's no hiding from the rampant commercialism that is driving some sales. One unscrupulous domain name squatter advertised his wares thus: "You may want create a website using this event as a showpiece for the worst case scenario of gun ownership.
"More likely, you may just be a clever PPC [Pay-Per-Click] internet guru."
eBay quickly pulled the domain names, saying such listings breached its Offensive Listings Policy.
Many of the sites were registered by the registrar firm GoDaddy. A GoDaddy spokesperson said that the company could intervene in a registration if the site was being used for 'morally objectionable or illegal purposes'.
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