Man who snatched up Mesa sites adds content
Justin Kolenc wasted little time turning ColoradoMesaUniversity.org into a social-networking site.
On Thursday, one student at Mesa State signed up at ColoradoMesaUniversity.org, which Kolenc dubbed “The Unauthorized Social Network.”
Kolenc, a 31-year-old senior at Mesa State College, which will become Colorado Mesa University with a stroke of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pen, is hoping to parlay his investment in purchasing three Internet domains related to the new institution into a profit.
College officials, however, have said Kolenc is “cybersquatting” on their domain names and want him to relinquish them by Wednesday.
Kolenc, an honorably discharged intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy, said he’s not ready to surrender them.
Kolenc maintains he’s an entrepreneur who saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. Mesa State College says he’s treading on dangerous ground, close to being a “cybersquatter” under federal law.
Mesa State College doesn’t own the trade name “Colorado Mesa University,” Kolenc said, and without that, the college can’t exercise any claim that he is acting contrary to federal law.
The college, however, maintains it’s on higher legal ground and wants the domains related to Colorado Mesa University so it can control its online image, as well as cast as wide a net as possible for people surfing the web.
It was happenstance that he was logged onto YouTube when college officials announced the choice of a new name in April, so Kolenc jumped at the chance to purchase the .org, .net and .info appellations of the university.
He told college officials that he wanted $10,000 for each of the domains, he said, but wasn’t serious about the demand.
Though college officials suspect he also bought the .com iteration, Kolenc said he didn’t.
To be sure, web surfers clicking on the .net, .org or .info iterations are directed to Kolenc’s social-media site, which sits behind a page that asks readers to verify that they are 18 or older.
ColoradoMesaUniversity.com, however, opens to a page that asks “Ever feel like you’re in the wrong place?” with a male figure in the center wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops standing among formally attired male and female figures.
A request by the Sentinel to the owner of the .com site through domainsbyproxy.com did not draw an immediate response.
Kolenc, who has been married since 2005 and has two children, said he hopes to start making money from his various web ventures.
He has made some money doing contract work, but has yet to turn a profit on his efforts, which turn off his Madsquid Productions business.
“I’ve seen this from the other side,” he said, noting that he has to deal with companies using “madsquid” on the web that are based in Canada and the UK.
He’s consulted with attorneys about those madsquid competitors and been told he can do nothing, Kolenc said.
“It seems to me like big business gets all the rights here,” he said.