Being the digital packrat that I am, and being a subscribing member to historic domain name ownership records, I think I can adequately answer that question. 🙂 And it's a good review for everyone who wasn't around in 2008, when there was a question regarding the site ownership. And, I hope, an eye-opener for all the flag-wavers over at MT Stars who seem to believe it's a site that supports medical transcriptionists against offshoring work.
The domain name was registered on August 5, 2002. While the domain registration history isn't available quite THAT far back, it is available beginning on May 19, 2003.
What's interesting about this information is that although the domain name is registered to Zeshan Ahmed, the address and telephone number are in Glendale, Arizona – which is near Peoria, AZ, where Sheri Steadman lives (or lived at the time). In a public post at MT Stars, Dr. Ahmed explained his involvement with Sheri Steadman (more on this later) and how he lived in Arizona for a short time.
However, in June of 2004, the domain name ownership changes to show Sheri Steadman as the owner of MTStars.com.
Back to that post at MT Stars where Dr. Ahmed explains what happened… this post has been removed from the MT Stars site. Isn't it fortunate that I happened to have printed it, as well as Sheri Steadman's relevant posts on the internet, to a PDF file at the time it was available?
On February 27, 2008, Sheri Steadman posted at MT Stars that the MTStars.com domain name had been hijacked and taken over by an offshore entity. On March 3, 2008, she posted at MTStars.net that Dr. Ahmed “turned the site over to me” when he returned to Pakistan. She claims he was selling space on her server without her knowledge or consent, and she ended their relationship. He then “took the site over.” I'm not sure quite how that happened, when the domain name was registered in her name, unless he had access to the domain name registration account.
Dr. Ahmed explains that the domain name was registered in his name since its initial registration in 2002 (true, as far as I can tell) and that he worked with Sheri, developing her business web site while he was in Pakistan. In January 2003, he came to the US and met Sheri in AZ. At that time, she offered him a job working as an MT and web developer for her company. He remained in the US for 5 months, then returned to Pakistan, for some odd personal reasons [sic]. He claims Sheri handled the domain name renewals and income from MT Stars because he he no credit card and could not get Paypal in Pakistan. He invites the reader to verify with the registrar that he transferred the domain name to himself:
Finally, the domain was shifted to my account in August, 2007. She did it herself, with her own consent and there was no hijacking or cyber squatting etc. involved in this process. The rest of it can be verified from GoDaddy as they keep track of each transfer IPs etc.
There are two small problems with this invitation: (1) Godaddy is not going to verify this information to anyone except ICANN, unless they have court order and (2) early in 2006, the domain name registration was privatized, which hides the ownership from public records. Breaking through the privatization would, again, require a court order. There is absolutely no way for any of us to verify any of this information. What I do know from the registration history is that from June 2004 until the domain name registration was privatized in early 2006, Sheri Steadman was listed as the owner.
But then, in early 2009, something interesting happens – for about 2 weeks, the registration privacy shield is lifted and we can see the registration information:
Who the heck is Najeeb Iqbal? In his 2008 post, Dr. Ahmed claims:
She owed me $7000 in October, 2007, when I sold the domain (for $7000) to one of my friends with a promise that the domain will be sold back to me by Feb1st, 2008 and I will return his money
I'm not sure if the registrant above is the friend Dr. Ahmed refers to, but this registration information is almost a year past the date Dr. Ahmed states the site would be sold back to him. There's no way of knowing when the ownership was transferred back, because the privacy veil was drawn again after only 2 weeks.
Fast forward to April 10, 2011 and the privatization drops again. Coincidentally (maybe), this is the date when posters at MT Stars started questioning the ownership of the site. If Dr. Ahmed wished to give us all a peek at his name so the questioning parties could see that he still owns the site, maybe he missed the point of the questions – because what we can also see (in case anyone missed it back in 2008), the owner of MT Stars is, in fact, a Pakistani national living in Pakistan.
Let me tell you why I find all this blog-worthy (because I'm sure you're wondering!). I'm blogging it (a) because I was asked about it and (b) because I love irony, such as:
- The big red, white and blue American flag flying across the site header
- The job board, which warns that “MTs outside of the US are restricted from this site – do not solicit!“
- A full board devoted to Offshore Concerns
- A post from Moderator, titled What is Wrong with Offshoring Transcription?
All this on a site owned by a Pakistani national who lives in Pakistan and has, as detailed in the 2008 post, worked as an MT, outsourcing work from the US. I guess he has no problem owning a site where he and his countrymen are constantly bashed, just as long as he gets advertisers.
All this anti-offshore stuff gets rather murky, doesn't it? I guess if you're Sheri Steadman, it's not okay to put US medical transcriptionists out of work by offshoring work – but it's okay to put US web developers out of work by offshoring work. And if you're a medical transcriptionist who is against offshoring work, I guess it's okay to post that at your favorite site – even if it's owned by one of the same people participating in doing the very thing you're against. As long as it's convenient, of course. And I guess if you're the American Transcription Association, it's okay to pay someone in Pakistan for advertising on their flag-waving site, because it gets your message out to the right people.
Talking the talk without walking the walk is nothing new in the MT world, unfortunately.