Possibly the most popular custom rom for Android, CyanogenMod, recently saw a website outage that was the result of their site being maliciously shutdown by a former member of the development team. In response, the CyanogenMod team purchased cyanogenmod.org and moved all operations to it. Since news of this hit the media, the former team member has relinquished control of the original domain and it is now in the hands of the current mod developers. The custom Android rom team will continue to use Cyanogenmod.org as its main site and the .com variant of the domain will now redirect visitors to it.
When CyanogenMod was first getting started, the development team was in need of a domain. One of the team members, who is named Ahmet, volunteered to buy the cyanogenmod.com domain to serve as the rom’s development headquarters. This arrangement continued on for several years, with Ahmet maintaining ownership of the domain while it was in use by the rest of the CyanogenMod developer team.
However at some point in recent months Steve Kondik, lead developer at CyanogenMod, discovered that Ahmet was secretly using the website for his own personal profit via referral deals. Kondik also found out that many of the referral deals believed he was the one that arranged them, not Ahmet. After finding that out, the CyanogenMod organization requested that Ahmet relinquish control of the domain and hand it over to the team. Ahmet in response said that he would be willing to sell ownership of the domain to them for the price of $10,000. If he wasn’t paid, he threatened to shut down the site.
Rather than paying the $10,000 asking price, Steve and crew declined, stating that it was extortion and CyanogenMod would not pay, nor could they even afford to. Ahmet quickly erased all DNS records which resulted in CyanogenMod.com coming down. In addition, the Google Apps accounts connected to CyanogenMod.com also went down, and the entire team lost access to their Gmail. In response the team moved everything over to the .org domain and posted a public service announcement regarding the domain change.
Despite CyanogenMod not divulging the name of the former teammate who caused this ruckus, the story was quickly picked up and Ahmet was found out. Soon after receiving the full force of negative spotlight from thousands of Android users and developers, Ahmet gave up the rights to cyanogenmod.com and transferred it over to the current team. Ahmet wrote a post on Google+ in his defense. But his story has been criticized to only be an evasion against the accusations made against him and not actually a rebuttal.
At the end of this, the CyanogenMod development team is pleased to have their domain and email back. The organization is not pressing for legal action against Ahmet, but would prefer to conclude the matter here since the domain was transferred in the end.
I’m interested in hearing what you think about this story. Leave a comment and let us know!