Misplaced humour.

Oops. Looks like I messed up. One of our partner organisations, with whom I’ve always thought I got on quite well, runs a network called XXX (name changed to protect the party involved). They are currently migrating to XXX2, and last October I noticed that the “xxx3.net” domain was free. For a bit of a laugh, I registered it and pointed it to a web page about technology used in parts of the network. This was always intended just to be a joke. When the organisation realised, I expected them to send an email to the effect of “ha, ha, now can we have our domain please?” At that point, I’d hand it over to them. The domain was registered in my name, with my home address and personal email and phone numbers — i.e. nothing to do with my employer.

Yesterday I get a phone call from my boss. Apparently the boss from this partner organisation has been on the phone to my boss’s boss about the issue, mentioning lawyers and legal fees.

Now, perhaps in today’s paranoid business climate the humour was misplaced, but surely a friendly email would have been a better first resort? It would have solved the issue just as quickly and with much less bad feeling.

Mea culpa, of course, and I’m not claiming it isn’t all my own fault, but the lesson is not to play pranks with domain names. Even for things that don’t exist yet, people take them very seriously.