Former London biz Retro Computers Ltd’s sales agent Nick Cooper has admitted he is the man who bought two of the company’s domain names and pointed them at sites critical of the company. He is currently being sued by it over an unrelated matter.
Yesterday we reported that RCL had lost control of the two domains, zxvega.co.uk and retro-computers.co.uk.
“I am no hacker,” Cooper said. “I had these sites as well as a number of others on a domain back order service and when I got a prompt I purchased them.”
He told us he “felt compelled to ensure that [crowdfunding] backers had all the facts from both sides of the fence,” to explain why he pointed the two domains at the Bum Fun Gaming website (it actually exists as a semi-serious thing – see Bumnote) and the Codetapper blog. The latter chronicles the ongoing failure of RCL to deliver its promised product in exhaustive day-by-day detail.
Cooper was formerly the sole director of Cornerstone Media International Ltd, the firm which acted as RCL's trade sales agents. RCL sued him, pushing the firm into liquidation, over allegedly unpaid sales royalties. The High Court case is ongoing.
Former RCL director Paul Andrews, who left the firm last year and has been in dispute with it ever since, contacted us to say it was he who let the two domain names enter the market – on a Bank Holiday Saturday. Andrews said he was able to release “the two domains transferred from my company around one year ago into the control of RCL” because they “still seemed to still have my company contact details on.”
“I wrote to Nominet, who advised me that to dissociate myself from these domain names (and what they might be used for by default) I had the option to cancel them as they had been partly left in my name. I felt I had no option but to do this,” his email continued. He said he did this because RCL’s lawyers had stopped responding to messages from his lawyers asking them to take the domains out of his name – and as someone who was no longer a director of RCL, he did not want his name on the company’s assets.
We asked RCL managing director Suzanne Martin and chairman David Levy for comment on the fact that two people who have both been in High Court disputes with RCL, on separate matters, disposed of and then redirected two of their company’s domain names. The company refused to comment. Andrews sued the company after quitting as a director to ensure he kept his shareholding in it.
The man behind Bum Fun Gaming, George Cropper, who, among other things, makes YouTube videos taking the piss out of RCL, claimed he had “no idea who did this” when we emailed him to ask why zxvega.co.uk now pointed to his website – something echoed by Ian Lightbody, the Codetapper blogger.
“It seems to me that RCL want to pick and choose when they take ownership and put correct details on documents,” said Lightbody. “They seem happy to leave Paul Andrews’ name on Paypal, Indiegogo, domain names and god knows what else when things are going wrong.”
Regular readers will be aware of the ongoing wrangles over Retro Computers Ltd’s flagship ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld gaming console. RCL has absorbed £513,000 in crowdfunded cash from the general public. This was pledged in order to put the Vega+ into production; so far, no signs of it entering production or being sent to backers who pledged money towards the devices have been seen. ®
As Cropper’s mildly psychedelic (and definitely not Googleable) website explains: “The name ‘BUMFUN’ comes from my YouTube name ‘George Bum’. The ‘Bum’ in the name comes from the times of old arcade games with 3 letter hi-score entry tables. I would always use the word ‘Bum’ as I wanted to write something silly but I am disabled so my parents would come to collect me from the machines and I didn't want to write something too bad as they would be angry if they saw it so ‘Bum’ it was and ‘Bum’ it still is!”
It adds: “This site is certainly not about bottoms, or any entertainment that may or may not be derived from them.” We can verify that it does sell tapes for ZX Spectrum games.