Last Laugh! Unpaid Fee Loses Debt Group's Web Site

An association of debt management offices, who together manage billions of dollars of government debt, has had its Web site closed after it failed to pay the $35-a-year fee to keep the Web address registered.

The World Association of Debt Management Offices (Wadmo), a forum for treasury officials from more than 40 developing countries, ran the Web site, but the domain name expired on January 15.

Cecilia Mendoza, of the Wadmo secretariat in the Philippines Treasury, said Wadmo planned to renew the address but had been held up because it was cutting ties with the UN's UNCTAD agency, and transferring the body's duties to different officials.

"It's because we couldn't even withdraw money, because the (new) signatories are not yet authorized," Mendoza told Reuters by telephone from Manila. The day -- or instant -- the address became available, some cybersquatters moved in and took it over.

Domain Bank, the domain name registrar, charges just $35 a year to register a ".net" internet address, or $250 a decade.

Wadmo's members span Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America, and include state debt management offices in Russia, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Romania, according to a cached version of Wadmo's Web site.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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