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Is General Electric Getting Into The Online Poker Business?

February 14, 2012

One of the company’s curious domain holdings would have you wonder …

I’m not sure where exactly this story begins, so let’s start with PokerFastlane.com.  The domain’s registrant is none other than General Electric Company (GE).

   Registrant:

General Electric Company
Domain Administrator
3135 Easton Turnpike
Fairfield, CT 06828-0001
US
Email: domain.admin@ge.com

Registrar Name….: CORPORATE DOMAINS, INC.

Domain Name: pokerfastlane.com

Created on…………..: Mon, Jan 09, 2006
Expires on…………..: Wed, Jan 09, 2013
Record last updated on..: Fri, Jan 06, 2012

When I first discovered this the question on my mind was, what interest does General Electric possibly have in owning a poker domain?

My tip off on the unlikely domain holding came from a curious source – a rerun of Law & Order SVU, Season 7 – Episode 17: Class.  The synopsis:

The gruesome discovery of a college coed’s corpse and the stash of cash she left behind leads the detectives to uncover her secret life as a high-stakes gambler.

About halfway through the hour-long episode it was revealed that the murder victim, a high-stakes poker player, had acted in collusion with another player through an internet poker site where they played for cash – PokerFastlane.com.

Poker Fastlane

PokerFastlane.com as seen on Law & Order SVU, Season 7 - Episode 17: Class

Intrigued as I typically am when hearing reference to a domain name during a fictional television show, I quickly made my way over to my PC to search whether indeed this domain actually existed, or not.  A quick Whois query and that’s when I did my first double-take, as I stared at the contact information listed above for General Electric.

WTF?

For a moment my imagination went wild. Could there be some connection between the fictional crime and the actual domain? Was this a real cover up of some kind?

Coming back to reality I then immediately navigated to the domain to see whether or not it resolved, though still half hoping it would take me to the landing-page of some under-the-radar new GE project, perhaps even code named Poker Fastlane.  No such luck.  The domain did not even redirect to another destination. It wasn’t resolving.

A number of questions sprang to mind.  Had the domain ever been active?  Was there formerly a legitimate gambling site hosted on this domain, one which the SVU screenwriters had known of and thus wrote into the script?  If so, what was the relationship between Poker Fastlane and General Electric that it now owned their former domain?

The next step was to conduct a search of the domain’s history at Archive.org.  Unfortunately, the WaybackMachine does not contain any archival history for PokerFastlane.com.  This would seem to indicate, though not conclusively, that the domain was never in fact developed.

Upon closer inspection of the image of the site onscreen (as seen above), a few things become apparent. First, and most importantly, take a close look at the URL displayed.  Does anything strike you as off?

poker fastlane URL closeup

Find the thing that doesn't belong

Give up yet or did you get it? 🙂  You should have noticed that the domain in the URL as shown is displayed in CamelCase, which means it must have been photoshopped on, since it’s not possible to for capital letters to display within the domain inside the address bar. (To test this simply type any domain into your browser using one or more capital letters.  You’ll find it automatically converts to lower case once the domain has resolved to a website).  

There are some other discrepancies as well.  If you look even closer it appears that there are some slightly rounded white-spaces above the letters, just encroaching over and onto what should otherwise be a very solid top-border of the address bar.  It’s perhaps only a pixel or so, but noticeable.   I’m sure the trained eye could pick up on much more than this.

So the site, like the show, was a fake; a fiction.  Still, I was perplexed and fascinated by the connection, or lack thereof, between PokerFastlane.com and General Electric …

Stay tuned for part II of this investigative story tomorrow! 🙂.

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