A web designer whose personal site has been published for years at katrina.com has turned it into a Hurricane Katrina relief site in response to the huge traffic from victims, their loved ones, and others seeking information on the disaster.
Katrina Blankenship told ComputerWorld that the site has received 400,000 hits the past week, a twenty-fold increase on the normal monthly traffic.
... it wasn't until Monday morning -- when she saw her e-mail in-box full of messages -- that Blankenship realized how many worried Internet users had gravitated to her site for help. "They were scared to death," she said. "They still are now -- the calls that are coming in with the stories that they have. One caller asked, 'Please, can you help me find my husband?' -- things like that."
In less heartwarming news, a Jacksonville-area man who registered several Katrina-related domains has been sued for deceptive trade practices by Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.
Moneyhan, who registered the domains under the name Demon Moon, told the Florida Times-Union he registered them to keep them out of the hands of cybersquatters. "As people were watching the storm, I knew that other people were going to be snatching up domain names and making a profit."
He removed donation links from the sites and replaced them with a for-sale offer, according to the attorney general's office. The domains appear to have been sold or tranferred on Saturday to Kevin Caruso of Chula Vista, Calif., the owner of tsunamis.com and preventsuicidenow.com.
Though I was tempted earlier this year by the process the World Meteorological Institute uses to select tropical storm names, I did not become a hurricanesquatter. The word "hurricane" followed by every scheduled name from 2005 to 2010 is owned by DisasterResistant.Com, which uses the sites to sell the Elder Valve, a $70 pipe valve that prevents human waste from returning to its creator during flooding:
Sewage finds the path of least resistance. All sewage at that pressure can go up one service line, sewage pressured up from over 100 or 1000 or 10,000 homes at higher elevations than yours. Sewage from that many homes could rocket up your line when no ground water is anywhere near your residence. Your yard could be dry, with raw sewage half way up your interior windows.