ZX Spectrum reboot company Retro Computers Ltd appears to have lost control of two of its web domain names over the weekend – and is now complaining about a “security breach” after some cheeky person bought them and pointed them at sites criticising RCL.
The two domains, zxvega.co.uk (a reference to the firm’s flagship product) and retro-computers.co.uk were both re-registered on 29 April to someone using an anonymising proxy registration firm.
For this to happen, whoever was in control of the domains would have had to have let them expire or have given them up. Generally, Nominet sends out reminders prior to a registration expiring in order to stop the former situation from happening.
The two domains now respectively point to a comedy page titled Bum Fun Gaming and a blog about RCL’s continued failures to deliver a product, file accounts, or do anything except post social media updates.
RCL declined to comment when we asked if any customer data had been compromised and why they reported a self-inflicted blunder to the police, as the April 30 update on their Indiegogo page says.
“We do not currently have control of these domains and an unauthorised third party has taken over these accounts. We are working to recover our property from this person or persons whom we have identified and reported to Action Fraud and the Metropolitan Police,” says the Indiegogo update.
Company chairman David Levy still has control of RCL's flagship retrocomputerslimited.com domain, though it is registered to him through his firm Intelligent Toys Ltd.
We asked the blogger whose site is now pointed to by zxvega.co.uk for their thoughts on the matter. He goes by the moniker Codetapper and says he has nothing to do with the domain kerfuffle: so far we have yet to hear more from him. We also emailed the address given on the Bum Fun Gaming page (it’s never a dull day at Vulture Central) to ask whether the person behind that had re-registered the domains. If Mr or Mrs Bum Fun Gaming replies we’ll update this article.
RCL appears to have been corporately paralysed since April 2016, when two of its four directors quit the firm. Although it has taken half a million pounds in crowdfunded cash, it has so far failed to put its Vega+ console into production. Backers have begun requesting refunds, a process which has led some to force their banks to reverse their transactions in order to get their money back.
The firm faces questions over tens of thousands of pounds which it should have donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital and has not paid. The money was contractually obliged to be given to the children’s hospital because of a clause in its contracts with intellectual property owners, whose games RCL was bundling in its flagship products. Some of those rights-holders have publicly asked why the firm has never produced a royalty statement detailing how revenues received have been allocated.
Retro Computers Ltd’s accounts are two months' overdue at Companies House. We asked the firm about this but it did not respond. ®