A Brief History of the ReadersUnited.com Domain (PDF)

amazon-logo3As of Saturday morning, ReadersUnited.com was the site which Amazon is using to drum up support for their pr campaign against Hachette. But just how long did Amazon have that campaign in the works?

Not nearly as long as it first appeared.

Earlier today I shelled out $50 for a whois history for this domain, and it tells us that even thought the domain was last registered in January 2013, Amazon only took control of the site at the beginning of the month.

Amazon bought the domain off of the web equivalent of a real estate speculator, which had registered the domain in 2013 and then parked a holding page there (we can see this in the screenshots in the report).

And before it was registered by a speculator, the site belonged to Brit by the name of Ian Porter. Based on what I see in the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, this was a book swap site of some kind. The site was in operation since at least 2007, but it apparently closed some time in late 2012.

My report goes back to 2007, but another source says that records go back to 2002. I can’t confirm that, but it is entirely possible that several someones registered the domain at one point or another. But that is less important than the fact that Amazon only recently acquired the domain, rather than getting it 18 months ago (as the public whois data would suggest).

That short time frame tells us that Readers United was not an idea that Amazon had on a backburner but is actually a direct response to the Authors United group. While that doesn’t change my opinion of the matter it is interesting nonetheless.

I have embedded the report PDF below. You’re welcome to download it, but since it cost me $50 it comes with strings attached:

  • Please don’t repost, email, or otherwise share the PDF, and
  • Please link to this page and not the PDF



Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Syn10 August, 2014

    Anyone else getting tired of this squabble? I wish Amazon would just delist them. Screw the preorders buttons or lack of stock. Just toss them out of the store. As a reader I have no plans to buy anything from Hachette if they move back to Agency, just like I didn’t when the Agency model was in play.

    But this is fine. This is how I found a lot of good indie authors and this is partly why indie books are taking off. So keep playing Gate Keeper for some elite group that are good enough to read your books at 14.99 but not at 9.99.

    1. Nate Hoffelder10 August, 2014

      I am, yes.

      Although the technical aspects were interesting for their own sake.

  2. Hayden10 August, 2014

    Syn. I am totally in agreement with you. Let Hachette set their own prices. Amazon just list their books and gives them basic services. No pre-order button. Indies would continue to prosper.

    I still don’t get it when indies are yelling from the rooftops telling Hachette that lower ebook prices actually make more money. Keep quiet and you will have less competition


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