MTStars.com and offshore ownership – who really owns this flag-waving site?

Medical Transcription ExchangeI got an e-mail yesterday asking me do you know who really owns MT Stars and whatever happened to Sheri Steadman.

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.

MT Stars domain name registration May 2003

Click on image to view full size

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.

MT Stars domain name registration June 2004

Click on image to view full size

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:

 

MTStars.com domain name registration January 2009

Click on image to view full size

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.

MT Stars domain name registration April 2011

Click on image to view full size

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.

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68 thoughts on “MTStars.com and offshore ownership – who really owns this flag-waving site?”

  1. Thank you, Julie, for bringing this matter to light for those who never knew about it and perhaps for those who had forgotten. After the post asking about who owned MTStars was removed 2 days ago, someone else asked about it the next day, and the moderator posted this statement (which interestingly enough neither confirms nor denies who owns MTStars):

    “Nothing about MTStars’ownership has changed. Some posters try to manipulate or disrupt the board by trying to instill a sense of fear or anger in others.”

    The person who inquired about this issue 2 days ago (me) is now officially banned from posting anything on MTStars. I guess that American flag they have waving on all their pages doesn’t cover freedom of speech, huh?

    1. Your right. The MT Stars web site doesn’t cover freedom of speech. They banned me too. I think they should be banned out of existence. They are an unfair web site and only want to hear what they want to hear – only good things like unicorns and sunbeams – la, la, la. I also think they are a racket just like Medquist. Businesses like this should not exist.

      1. PT:

        Every website has the right to set its own policies. I have a problem with the heavy-handed banning and deletion that goes on at MT Stars, but they have every right to run it any way they want, in my opinion.

        What I don’t agree with is lying to the members of the community. Another “just my opinion,” but I think there’s a lot of subterfuge, misdirection and just outright lies going on there. I simply don’t understand why it appears to be so popular with MTs.

        1. What I’m trying to say here is that their type of banning in my opinion means you can’t give any negative opinions on their site. Now you may think they have a right to run their business the way the want to, but if it means unfairly, I don’t agree with that and my summation of that type of business is that it should not exist because of the unfairness of the site. How can only their opinion of things be a benefit to MTs?

          1. In my opinion, that whole website isn’t of benefit to MTs and not just because of the banning and deletions. Have you ever tried to link to another MT website, even one that would be beneficial to MTs and has completely different information? It will be deleted and you will be banned. They don’t want MTs knowing about any information except what they feed them (and make money from) – which supposes that MTs are too stupid to find other MT websites all on their own.

            Again, that’s their right. YOUR right is to not go there if you don’t like how they run it.

          2. It’s my right to not want to go on that site, but if I choose to and say anything wrong in their opinion, then I’m banned. It’s their right to keep their site, but if they keep banning people on it, no one will want to go to it anymore. What good is that? Well, I for sure don’t go on it now because I’m not allowed to go on it anyway. This seems like a Catch 22, but I guess that’s just the name of that tune.

    2. You can get un-banned (if you wish) by just using a different email address. I was banned a while back for defending myself against some vipers on there, how dumb is that. I was a bit bitchy but they were attacking me. So I waited a week or so then re-registered using a different email (I have 3). Many on there now don’t remember the dust up about the site being hijacked. I tried to get on the new site Sherri made a couple months ago but it is gone now, forget the name already (MTD go or something like that). I still like MTStars but the owner must be laughing his butt off about making money off American’s that don’t want offshoring and lose their jobs to his country on a regular basis.

      1. Yeah, I know I can use another E-mail address, but right now, even if I had another one to use and since I had a bad experience with MT Stars, I don’t wish to go there anymore.

  2. Well, if it is any comfort, there is a long, long list of folks who have been banned from that site, including most of us … Julie, myself 🙂 Heck at one time you could not post anything about AHDI/AAMT …those would just puff on out of existence before they even got a chance to be read. Da Nose even parodied them with MT Suns. Don’t know where that one went, I looked through the old Nose stuff I still have and that one has vanished, but it was funny 🙂

    Nae

  3. And then there was MT Fallen Starts, the community of the banned…. Don’t know if that’s still around. I’ve been banned many, many times, but I just keep coming back under different handles and different disposable e-mail addresses, and just keep on causin’ trouble, ’cause that’s what I do! 😀

  4. I wish I could say I’m surprised at some of the deceptive things we see in our industry, but sadly I’m not. I rarely post there, I guess because I’ve found a lot of negativity and I’m too short on time to deal with that much.

    This post made me curious so I went to the WhoIs database and looked up the site. It is still showing the same owner from Pakistan. I did see the post on the site, and because the moderator was asking that people email her if they had questions, I sent this: “I saw your post this morning about the ownership of the site and wondered that myself. I imagine you’ve seen the post at MT Exchange that shows screen shots that says the owner is from Pakistan and am just wondering about that.” I also asked about how to get the world out about the MT Inner Circle in the same email.

    The short reply came back: “MTStars remains a privately owned site and is not associated with any other Internet presence.”

    That really didn’t help me, so I wrote back: “Thanks, Cher. I think my question wasn’t very clear. I wondered about the owner being from Pakistan as well. I actually tried to find information myself and here’s what I found in the WhoIs directory today: (here I pasted in the info from the WhoIs directory, which shows just what is above). I had understood your post on the site to say this wasn’t the case so that’s where my confusion is coming from. I appreciate any clarity you can provide. Thanks a lot!”

    And the last reply: “My statement was that no changes have occurred – which is true. Enjoy your day.”

    There are a couple of things wrong with this. First, my question never really got answered. I’m left to interpret the response. So my interpretation is that the site has always been owned by someone from Pakistan. Personally I don’t have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with making your community think otherwise. It’s deceptive and just plain wrong.

    The other interesting point, from a business perspective is that I wrote as a potential advertiser, someone who could indeed bring money to that site. Nowhere in the response is that even addressed. And so, I’ve sent an email to the email address listed as the owner, which includes the email string and says simply: “Hello. I had written the note below to your administrator really attempting to verify ownership of the MT Stars website and whether the owner is in Pakistan. You will see below that my question really wasn’t answered and I’m not sure why. As you will note in my original email, I had also asked about ways to promote a new membership site for medical transcriptionists which did not get a reply. Do you indeed own this site as listed in the WhoIs registry for Go Daddy? Thanks.”

    So far, no reply to that one, but there is a time difference. 🙂

  5. Interestingly, Kathy, the post you are referring to seems to have been deleted. (Good thing I have screen shots! :D)

  6. Wellllll…. I get banned there several times a month usually. And for things like mentioning ANY other MT website, once for being facetious and the brainiacs read my tongue-in-cheek reply as a serious assault (issue was unions).

    There are many lemmings in our world. And it helps to keep them in the dark. This is why I love Jules so much…. she LOVES shinin’ that spotlight on the dark corners.

    Kathy, if you’re advertising a site for MTs to gather and post and share information, you won’t be likely welcomed. Afterall, you might enlighten an MT or two and well that just wouldn’t work.

    I don’t really care who owns, runs, manages, or posts on the site. I *DO* care about hypocrisy, however. Irritates the heck out of me 🙂

  7. Interesting blog Julie – It is not the ATA’s intention to advertise on a foreign concern’s board. When I spoke with Cher she explained to me that her board was hijacked but assured me that she had it back now and I had no reason to doubt her.

    The ATA chose to advertise on MT Stars because it was a central place for transcriptionists and we needed to get our name out there. What better place to let them know there was an organization out here that supports keeping work in the US?

    We do walk the walk and I find it offensive if that reference was towards the ATA.

    I have emailed Cher again and if I find out that there is any offshore interest in MT Stars we will pull our advertising immediately.

  8. Donna, you make a comment that piques my curiousity… with regard to the board being “hijacked” and Cher “getting it back…” is Cher actually Sheri Steadman?

    I’d say I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I usually mean to do exactly that. 🙂 I don’t know how you can dispute the facts presented in the registration records. The domain name is owned by Dr. Ahmed, who claims to have owned it from the beginning. ICANN requires that the contact information be kept current. If Cher owns the site, then she owns the domain name – but the domain name registration records don’t reflect that.

    If Cher is Sheri, then she apparently didn’t learn her lesson the first time around. If she’s someone else, she didn’t learn anything from Sheri’s experience.

      1. There definitely is a Sheri. She is a friend of mine. She and I discussed the whole thing and Julie is right about what happened as far as the hijacking. Sheri is out of the industry now and runs a catering service.

        1. I know the original Sheri was a real person. And I figured she was out of the MT business because all her MT sites were down. I don’t know who “Cher” is, the person purportedly administering MT Stars at the time I wrote this post.

    1. To bring up another very negative chapter in the saga of MT Stars, I used to work for Wendy Keller “WolfstarMT” and the top person on the emailing list was “Cher” who was Wendy’s neighbor and good friend who also typed for Wendy from time to time. I later learned that “Cher” was a moderator for MT Stars. It would seem that “Cher” is not “Sherry”. I think the “Cher” is short for “Cheryl”.

  9. I recognize some familiar names here. Darla Deen, if you were an HS-er, would *love* to catch up with you. Maybe ask Donna Littrell through ATA for my email and I’ll tell her it was me that posted here. We worked on some accounts together.

    Lots of ground to cover about what’s going on in the industry and what we’re doing to let the public know their ‘private’ records are not so private when they leave the US.

    1. I was a whistleblower to the fact that a major transcription company was sending all the patient’s personal information to an offshore company. I was fired and I filed suit and won. I can’t give more details because of a gag order but trust me, I went to the very top in the company and the ethics committee and was turned away. I got the last laugh all the way to the bank.

    2. Sue: I wrote The President, his staff, my senator, and anybody who might care to listen. No replies other than from my senator stating that our work is being outsourced because we lack qualified people and cannot compete, and we need MORE EDUCATION. (Big Buisiness). Is this why while editing for one MTSO I got poorly-transcribed reports from India to correct?

      I don’t want my medical records or my business information outsourced to another country, but the name of the game is not preservation of our country or its workers, it is MONEY and GREED.

      1. Hey, Sherry Lee, Which Senator sent you the stupid response? Maybe we ALL need to inform our senators that there are plenty of well-educated transcriptionists in the good old US of A.

  10. What is it that guy in the insurance commercial says? Oh, yes, “does a woodchuck chuck wood ?”

    The amazing part of this one for me is that obviously even on the internet it is really easy to pull the wool over folks eyes in the exact same way over and over and over …

    Nae

  11. Sue, yes, I did work at HS a long time ago. I contacted Donna and asked for your email address. Hope to catch up with you soon. 🙂

  12. And now today, the domain name registration has once again been privatized.

    I don’t care who owns MT Stars, I just care about hypocrisy. Obviously, the owner of MT Stars thinks it would be detrimental to traffic/revenue if the owner and the owner’s location was known. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m wondering – why?

  13. This was very interesting, not only for the content, but also Julie’s amazing persistence and packrattiness. Way to go, JW. It is amazing to see the screenshots that you have saved.

    Now the spoiler, I am an offshore MT, and have had to abstain from posting on MTStars just so that I am not banned. My views on offshore are obviously not what non-offshore MTs would like to hear.

    However, this information was an eye opener. One never stops learning about people or their motivations.

  14. To put this to rest, I asked Cher the following question and also asked her if I could share her reponse with this blog:

    ATA: “For the record, can you please confirm that this is a US entity and that Pakistan or any other country is not involved in this board?”

    Cher/Moderator MT Stars: “MTStars’ ownership has not changed and the board is only for MTs in the US. Nothing has changed. It is a privately owned board, always has been, and has always been dedicated to US MTs. I don’t monitor or moderate other sites which are usually for-profit individual blogs. MTStars has by far the highest traffic of viewed pages and postings – has been that way since its inception. I have moderated this board for quite some time and work very hard to keep offshore individuals and companies off the site, prevented from using any feature of the site and ensure that US MTs have ample opportunity to share any/all of their diverse opinions as well as requiring job advertisers to provide a minimal amount of information so our posters can research their validity before conducting their business with them.”

    Since the response was a bit vague I asked further:

    ATA: “Thanks for the response. Can you unequivocally state that MT Stars is owned and operated by you or a US owned company? And that no foreign person or company has any ownership to MT Stars?”

    Cher/Moderator MT Stars: “You are quite welcome. Yes, I can. I operate it with no offshore involvement or ownership at this point.”

    ATA: (I then asked her permission to share this with the MTExchange Blog – her response is below – I have no reason to doubt what she says. I have always found her to be courteous and responsive to anything I’ve asked).

    Cher/Moderator MT Stars: “I don’t monitor other boards because I don’t care what other people write on other boards. I try to maintain MTStars’ cyber separation very distinctly. So, it doesn’t matter to me what is posted there by anyone else. I’m not going to justify the board to anyone for any reason. It is a privately owned board and I’ve worked so very hard to keep offshore individuals off of it, keep offshore companies from soliciting our posters in any form, promoting MT positions here in the US for US MTs only and nothing has changed with the board’s operation or the goals of it. It is still the most highly trafficked site available to MTs and anyone interested in the MT industry across the United States. My work here can speak for itself. I hope you have a good evening … and hopefully spring is peeping its head around the corner where you are. It’s finally arrived here and it is exciting and difficult to stay indoors on the computer! LOL”

    I believe her. The ATA will continue to advertise on MTStars. Thanks for investigating Julie as the ATA certainly would not want to be supporting an offshore company. If at some point this board changes hands and becomes involved with an offshore entity, the ATA will no longer advertise there.

  15. Donna, thanks for following up here. In the end, each person has to decide what they believe or don’t believe. In today’s post on MT Tools, I wrote about truth in advertising and transparency in our industry. I certainly respect your right to make the decision about how to handle it for your organization.

    That said, I’m just at the opposite place of where you are. As someone who also operates several websites, that registration information is what it is. It’s been made private, but it’s here in a screenshot and I have the exact same information in a screen shot from yesterday. In my opinion, that’s just pretty hard to dispute. It may very well be that it’s a US person who is operating the site, but the ownership clearly isn’t US or it wouldn’t be registered like it is. I’m sure, as well, that every business has a reason for doing things the way they do them. I do get that. The community there as well as some of the advertisers wouldn’t like knowing that information. Posts asking about it have been promptly shut down.

    It is, simply, what it is.

  16. Donna – I don’t suppose you asked her why the domain name is registered to someone in Pakistan.

    I’m with Kathy – the registration information is indisputable. I’d be interested in seeing whether or not “Cher” would even give a straight answer as to why the registration shows that Dr. Ahmed, in Pakistan, is the owner.

  17. Julie, I care about hypocrisy too. This is one of the most breathtaking examples of stonewalling and outright lying that I have seen in some time. At the beginning of the week it was public information for anyone to see who owned MTStars….and now at the end of the week it’s not! How damning is that? This quote from “Cher” pretty much says it all: “MTStars has by far the highest traffic of viewed pages and postings – has been that way since its inception.” Read that to mean advertising dollars and those advertising dollars would go away if it became common knowledge who owns MTStars. This is like the Wizard of Oz and the parable about the Emperor’s new clothes all rolled up into one.

  18. I don’t understand the stonewalling and lying either, Darla. It was well known when the whole “hijacking” of MT Stars came up that the site owner was in Pakistan. Apparently, it makes no difference to the people who post there. I honestly don’t think they’d lose much, if anything, by just coming out and being honest. The only advertiser I can see them losing would be ATA – and really, how much revenue is THAT?

    In my experience, secrecy, stonewalling and lying usually means something isn’t on the up-and-up.

    And Donna? I honestly can’t believe you’re falling for all this. My impression of you is that you’re smarter than this.

    Cher says: “MTStars’ ownership has not changed and the board is only for MTs in the US. Nothing has changed.”

    Nothing has changed since when? If nothing has changed since 2008 – or even April 13th – then the domain name is owned by Dr. Ahmed, in Pakistan. (And might I note that I believe the above is most accurate statement Cher makes, even if it leaves a lot open for interpretation.)

  19. This is very interesting. I do note, though, that apparently there are others here that are rethinking exposing their involvement with their own board!

    Up until today, the MT Inner Circle had an About Us tab complete with pictures and background summaries on those involved with the board.

    Today suddenly it is only an About tab and the names and pictures and background summaries of everyone have been removed.

    So, I guess kind of playing devil’s advocate here – what’s up with that, Kathy? Being a male in a pretty much female dominated world, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (or vice versa)!

    Paul C.

  20. Well, I’ve been scratching my head a lot this week, not just over this topic.

    In my kindest possible tone of voice: Paul, what the hell does your comment have to do with this discussion?

    Let’s stay on topic.

  21. Paul thanks for asking. It’s there when I pull the site up. We haven’t done anything to change that. I’m not sure why you would have gotten that.

    I wonder if maybe you weren’t on the MT Tools Online website as that IS a page there. The MT Inner Circle site doesn’t have a page that just says “About.” It does say “About Us” and lists all of the folks who are going to contribute content.

    I’m a huge believer in transparency and as soon as I had everyone’s bios and pictures, that page went live.

  22. Thank you, Kathy. This explains the difference in what I was seeing. Your professional tone is appreciated, as well.

    Julianne, perhaps you could take lessons on professionalism from Kathy. My post was about transparency which seemed a little murky for the site mentioned at the time. However, as you can see, Kathy has cleared it up as the professional I was hoping she would be – without the use of vinegar.

    I have always felt that maintaining a professional image included never using inappropriate language, calling other individuals’ intelligence into question or berating others because they have a different perspective than your own. Ah, well, I can see that being a lady has nothing to do with professionalism for some. Days gone by, I suppose.

    I’ll leave you and your pack to continue your rip-and-bully antics. Bite away … grrr!

    Paul C.

  23. Well shoot Julie, your first chastizing here since this place began. I have peach ice cream going in the ice cream maker for you, I can pack it in dry ice … ship 🙂

  24. I did a quick investigation into why a private domain name would be registered to a foreign entity. I have seen this happen before. Apparently, it is common for the “whois” information to reflect a foreign name/address. Why, is beyond me, but I know the registration companies need to plug something into that information for it to be “private” so I guess that’s what the internet gods choose. And for the average Joe, it’s no big deal. However, for others it can cause a real problem, as in this instance.

    See the article below questioning the same (disregard the content of the article)… notice, it is a godaddy registration.

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2011/01/jews-for-sarah-palin-website-has-foreign-domain-name-registration-567.html

    I personally think that the intent of this blog was to start trouble and “stir the pot.” Julie, I also thought you were smarter/better than this.

    If one has the time to hunt down this type of information, just imagine what you could do if you focused on a positive issue for the transcription industry. Our industry is being battered from all sides. We need to support each other and keep moving forward. It’s too easy to sit back and whine and complain about every little thing, because you will always have people who will commisurate with you – misery loves company. That’s a reason I do not follow the transcription boards (this one included). I only found out about this issue because I received an email. There’s enough negativity in this world. Our energy would be better spent if we put our heads together and combined our efforts so the future of our industry, as changing as it is, will be something we can all live with.

  25. You know, this has turned into an interesting conversation.

    First, Paul, I did understand your question. It was fair to say if we’re saying transparency should be the norm, then we should have it on our own sites. I’m glad I was able to figure out that you were probably on the wrong site and still, you pointing that out to me has made me realize I need to update the “About” page on MT Tools Online. I started that site over a year ago when I was pretty new to doing websites and it really doesn’t have much information on it; that will change this week.

    I don’t believe this was started simply to “stir the pot.” I think someone asked a legitimate question of Julie because she’s knowledgeable about these things and about how to verify such things. I’ve never been able to register my own domain names under some other entity, it seems to be a violation of the terms of service with Go Daddy based on all I have read when doing that. I, too, found the same information Julie found until the site was once again made private. Each of us has to believe what we choose to believe about this issue.

    Donna, I read the article above. What I’ve decided to do with it is go to the horse’s mouth. I submitted a ticket to Go Daddy this morning asking them how much one can truly rely on registration information and am told I should have a response sometime today. Hopefully that can lay this to rest. When I get that, I’ll share it here.

    1. Donna:

      Some people don’t get it? Not only in this industry, but our entire country is being outsourced. Foreign ownership of American-based corporations listed with the Secretary of State. All very legal and disgusting. And our earnings and ability to support ourselves with dignity are going down the tubes. People should be concernd. We should appreciate people like Julie who have the knowhow and ability to research and get to the bottom of issues.

  26. This brings up a new question in my mind: If both Julie and Donna received emails about this, it seems there definitely IS someone trying to “stir the pot” by instigating this discussion in several arenas.

    I’d be interested to know who is sending all the emails, why now, what their purpose is, etc.

    Anyone care to cough up the name(s)?

    Paul C.

  27. Or … it is simply intelligent people asking intelligent questions, questions that some don’t seem capable of asking 🙂

    Since this particular question has come up pretty regularly on the net since that site was first formed I think it is pretty much a stretch to attempt insinuating that this all fits some sort paranoia/s**t stirring parameters 🙂 It is, after all a fairly simple thing to figure out how to utilize search engines.

    Nae

  28. Sure, Paul. I’m the one who asked Donna about it. I did that because I didn’t know if she saw this and because I’ve watched her organization and what they are attempting to do. It didn’t seem to fit with their mission so I asked her if she had seen the post here that clearly showed a screen shot that listed ownership of the domain.

  29. Here’s the reply I received from Go Daddy:

    Per our registrar agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the contact and registrant information listed for your domain name must be made public. Using false information is a
    violation and can lead to the termination of your domain name registration.

    We understand most people do not want their personal contact
    information (name, address, email address, and phone number) made
    public in the Whois database. That’s why — since 2002 we have offered private registration services through an affiliate company, Domains By Proxy® (DBP).

    When you purchase DBP private registration services, the Whois database lists DBP’s name, mailing address, and phone number instead of your personal contact information.

    DBP also creates a private unique email address for your domain name — you decide to have any arriving email forwarded, filtered for spam, or not forwarded at all.

    Although DBP is listed as the registrant of your domain name on the Whois database, you retain FULL CONTROL over your domain name. You can:

    Cancel, sell, or renew your domain name
    Control the content for your website
    Set the nameservers for your domain name
    Update your underlying domain name contact information
    Resolve any and all disputes involving your domain name

    A private registration provides a variety of benefits! It helps you:
    Protect your identity
    Stop domain name-related spam
    Thwart harassers and stalkers
    End data mining
    Maintain personal and family privacy
    Prevent your domain from being hijacked
    Shield legitimate entrepreneurial business endeavors
    Voice political and other First Amendment speech

    DBP does not allow its services to be used for spamming, violating
    the law, or engaging in morally objectionable activities. Violating
    these policies will result in service cancellation.

    If you would like to report invalid WhoIs information, please click the link at the bottom on GoDaddy’s WhoIs database page, that says “Report Invalid WhoIs”

    That said, I have to say I believe this is one of two things: Either the owner actually IS in Pakistan and the site moderator needs to deny is for business reasons, or the site is violating the terms of service. There’s really no denying the facts that this site was showing pubicly to be owned by someone in Pakistan just a few days ago before they made the registration public. As I’ve said before, it’s a moot point to me who owns a site; what is important is the transparency and that people not be misled. And in the end, each of us has to determine which we decide is the case here.

  30. Just one more thing came to mind for me and then I’m done. 🙂

    I think two things, in relation to Paul’s comments:
    I believe it came up because people on that board were questioning it. Although those posts were removed, it did come up there. That led to the question being asked of Julie.

    Julie’s already posted above why she thought it was “blog-worthy.” It is indeed irony and like it or not, people do like those kind of discussions.

    I actually only got involved with it because 1) I frequently browse MT sites and was particularly doing that this last week because of the opening of the MT Inner Circle and 2) I generally check facts myself (not because I don’t respect Julie or others, it’s just what I do). I follow the ATA on Facebook because I’m interested in how they are growing their organization; because their ad was mentioned here, I was curious how that fit for them. Donna’s already explained why she chooses to advertise there, it’s an inexpensive way to get the word out on a site that seems to support their mission; that’s pretty simple to me.

    Our industry has always been plaqued with a lack of transparency. Sad, but true. I can’t imagine that will change anytime soon. All we can do is each do our part as we see fit to do it.

  31. @Donna: When domain name privacy service is purchased, all it does is hide the registered owner’s information and provide, instead, the information of the privatization service. GoDaddy, for example, has its own privatization service.

    The current registration privacy service information showing in the whois record is a service located in Sunnyvale, CA. The example you link to doesn’t apply in this case.

    However, the screen shots provided in this blog post predate the privatization. The information, therefore, is the TRUE registered owner of the domain name – Dr. Ahmed, in Pakistan.

    Furthermore, ICANN – the organization that oversees domain name registration – requires that the information given for the owner be correct, or the domain name registrant runs the risk of losing the domain name.

    If you’re wondering whether or not I know what I’m talking about – I own over 800 domain names and am active in the domainer community. I’m pretty sure I have the knowledge and experience to accurately address the issues of domain name ownership. And it’s my opinion that this domain name is, in fact, owned by Dr. Ahmed, in Pakistan, and not someone here in the US named “Cher.”

    I’ve found that when people can’t answer the hard questions – or don’t really want to know the answers to them – they fall back on the “don’t you have better uses for your time” and “this is just pot-stirring” argument. So, let me clarify: I choose how I spend my time and I find this topic fascinating so, for the time being, this is the best use of my time. And yes, absolutely, I am stirring the pot.

    @Paul: I’m not selling anything here, so I feel no need to meet your standards of professionalism or “lady-like” behavior – which, again in my experience, is language used primarily by men when women say something they don’t like.

    Anyone who knows Kathy and I will tell you she’s a much nicer person than I am – and I’m totally okay with that. 😀

    As far as providing you with the names of people who e-mail me about this – I can think of a very un-ladylike response to that demand, but in the interest of being a little bit ladylike, I’ll just say “go fish.”

  32. LOL Careful, Miss Julianne! Your ass-ness is showing!

    Considering their responses here, my bet is on Darla Deen and/or CrankyBeach being the one who contacted you this time for this YEARS old topic. I would furthermore bet that they weren’t allowed to have their personal control of topics there and, thus, decided to run to Miss Julianne and her pack for their clique support. (Think Squire Red WIll Danaher’s, “Feeney, get your book out. Set down the name, the one Sean Thornton.”)

    Well, I certainly must give you accolades for providing an amusing inside look at a huge problem also plaguing this career: Too many hateful women trying to keep control (no difference in your game punches here, JW8, than those you like to scream about the AHDI doing) rather than working together.

    Just take your daily HRT and perhaps an extra Xanax and chill. Trust me, the MT world will continue on whether you’re shouting what everyone’s opinion and actions should be or not! (Think Eliza DoLittle’s “…no my reverberating friend, you are not the beginning or the end … and without much ado we will all muddle throughhhhh withouuuutttt you!”)

    The MT Amazon act is really starting to age you.

    Paul C.

  33. And the real Paul Chambers shows himself, even if it isn’t his real name.

    Thanks for contributing, Paul. It’s always interesting to see who/what shows up in these conversations.

  34. Wow, my first exposure to Paul Chambers was this thread. I can only assume it is wearing on your fragile male ego to have to fend yourself in a predominantly female profession.

    And in answer to your query, yes, I was the one who contacted Julie. I rarely post anything on MTStars so I clearly was not trying to have a “personal control” of any topic. Earlier this week when I could not get MTStars to open, I thought perhaps the owner/server might be in some part of the US that was having bad weather, so I decided to see who owned the board. Really a very innocent question with no agenda. I was shocked when 3 different domain search sites showed up a Pakistani name with an address in Pakistan. So having known Julie for some years now, I thought I would get her take on it.

    Um, Paul, you don’t know me or my background, or you would know that I don’t require the “clique support” of anyone’s “pack.” Your misogyny is showing. You might want to tuck it back in.

  35. @Sue: I suspect “Paul” is someone whose real name would be more familiar to all of us. 🙂

    And here’s an interesting update…

    There is a Yahoo MT Stars group. The administrator of this group is using the same e-mail address as the one used by Dr. Ahmed on the domain name registration back in 2003. This group consists only of “newsletters” to the group – and the “newsletter” links to a subdomain of mtstars.com (http://mtmatters.mtstars.com), that is just a feed of the discussions on the different forums at MT Stars.

    Clearly, the person using Dr. Ahmed’s Yahoo e-mail address is involved with MT Stars. I wonder if “Cher” inherited the e-mail address along with the site? 😀

  36. You know, what’s interesting is for years I asked the admin of MTStars if they were in Pakistan and “Cher’ wrote me a horrible man in Pakistan hijacked her website and she was in court over it. Now, I have some IT skills and knowledge (not much mind you) like Kathy N, and I have read between the lines and think this goes somewhat like this:

    “Cher” or whoever hired the Pakistani to build her website forum and help it grow. It did grow and it became evident that having a ‘US only forum’ (yeah right then why post ads from Transcend, Nuance and the others?) was the only way she could keep the money coming in and the fact that she co-owned it with the Pakistani was causing problems. Since he had all the IT skills, he just took it to his own servers, then they went to court, where I am guessing they made a settlement where he maintains ownership of the domain for a fee and she pretends it’s all US based.

    This is all based on my assumptions – would be interesting to find out who ‘Cher’ really is – has anyone asked Sheri Steadman if that’s her alias?

    Now some may wonder, who cares or what does it matter? It matters to me because this entire industry uses token Americans to hide their overseas work-force, and the fact that MT Stars claims to ‘ban offshore interests’ but then posts their ads is ridiculous.

    Finally, to whoever said we should all band together with the AHDI (perhaps I should get my RMT right away too!), I don’t recognize the AHDI as anything but what it is: A non-government endorsed entity of volunteers who use token Americans to lobby for foreign jobs and their profits — show my one board member who doesn’t ship work overseas – just one — in either MTIA or AHDI.

  37. Thanks for your research!

    My suspicious were correct then.

    I have been removed from MT stars for flagging a very bad, deceitful post. I got a note from the moderator saying that they want ads. Her words “we want ads for those who need employment so stop calling out ads because YOU don’t like them.” She prints it in red yet!! Obviously they don’t care how many MTs waste their time answering those ads so long as they get paid for those ads regardless of whether that company is a reputable, legitimate business.

    Then I wondered, who really owns MT Stars and researched this site. So this makes me wonder what happens to all those resume’s posted on MT Stars. Do they then go on a name selling list for the head hunters who have bogus companies based outside the United States with a U.S. business address making us think we are working for an American company? Very suspicious. Especially in light of the fact that I went on line one morning to work and found my supervisor was in India and I was was to edit the bad work done there before it went back to the client.

  38. I was very interested in this blog as I too have been in the MT business for over 40 years and banned various times from MTStars. I had no idea that a website so vocal about no offshore hiring would be owned by a Parkistani.

    However, I was shocked at the nasty posts from Paul Chambers. They were uncalled for. It would seem that he needs to get back on ERT and soon. Talk about a bitch!

  39. I love this site! You dames are a hoot! I got permanently banned, along with a bunch of people yesterday. “Cher” said I was soliciting. Wanna date? Short on time just now but wanted to saythanks to Kathy for all her hard work and that I love being in this club!

    1. I hope you are not the psycho from SGS, or whatever company that was. You can get un-banned by just registering under a different email, quite simple to get around. 🙂

  40. Humph. Always figured mtstars was really owned/operated by MedQuist themselves so they could spy on their peon (sp?) employees and suck what is left of the measly paychecks (crumbs, really) out of us by using anything we say against us.

    Other than that, THANK YOU for posting all this! I had no idea about it, though I always wondered about those job postings that said they pay 2-3 cents per line – no way they could be U.S. companies and expect anyone to work for them. I really haven’t been on mtstars in MONTHS because it was always so hard to find what I was looking for, the negativity, etc., but guess I’ll be looking for a new site with job boards. So very TIRED of MQ (MModal as it’s now called).

  41. Someone posted this link yesterday on the MT Stars Board. Some, including myself, were thankful to see it. One or a few (may have been the same person) replied with statements like “No one cares,” and they were quite nasty about it, jumping down the original posters throat, so to speak. There were a few responses stating that some people do care. The entire string was taken down by this morning. I for one think it’s strange and no coincindence. If there is nothing to hide, why was it taken down. There used to be a forum called “Offshore Concerns.” It is no longer active. I think that anything she doesn’t like, she just takes down without regard to “freedom of speech.” I have stopped using the board. The work sent offshore needs to stay in the US. The owner of the board pretends that is her mission but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. I’m surprised the link stayed up for even a day. They’re usually pretty quick to delete links going to ANY other MT site, even ones that would be helpful to MTs.

      People being nasty on MT Stars? I’m shocked. LOL

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