TEAM
cingular
racing
   

The cap that inspired the graphics.

TEAM
at&t
racing
The CingularRacing.Com Story

This is the story of how I got started in NASCAR related web sites, and how I got my telephone number. If your race team can't afford a full time webmaster, hire me to update your driver's results on your "/racing/index.html" web page. Dial 321-Liftoff to discuss it.

  Hi there.

  I'm Ozzie. An old "phone phreak", space cadet, and NASCAR Hobbyist. I have my own Area Code, which led me to operating CingularRacing.Com (which later morphed into ATT31.Com). Let me explain.

  In September of 1998 I attended a Public Service Commissionn (PSC) hearing in Orlando FL which was discussing the upcoming split of the 407 Numbering Plan Area (NPA), the long ago developed telephone company term meaning Area Code.

  I presented my testimony at the PSC hearing suggesting that the Countdown Capitol of the World (Cape Canaveral) should get Area Code 321. I also presented a printout from the website of the North American Numbering Plan Administration showing that 321 was "available for geographic relief". The Chairman of the commission came up to me later, and told me that she had contacted NANPA requesting a list of Area Codes, and was told it was proprietary. I, of course, found the list on the Internet on their web site.

  So when it comes to Area Code 321, I asked for it, and the PSC approved it. That makes it my Area Code, right? OK, so it's a joke. Lighten up!

  Shortly after the approval, I dialled a telephone number, and got a recording that said, "I'm sorry. the number you've dialled at Bell South Mobility is not in service at this time". That was the best news I could have heard!

  I ran down to the BSM kiosk at the local mall, and asked the lady if I could get a cell phone with the number 543-8633. She called the Melbourne office, spoke with them a minute, hung up, and gave me the bad news.

  "I'm sorry sir, but the boys in Melbourne tell me that the number you want is in the middle of a 'hundred-group' that's on a corporate rate. It's totally unavailable". I thanked her, and walked away dejected.

  Next stop, the internet!

  Hmm, let's look at http://BellSouthMobility.Com a minute - ah, here's a link marked "About the company". Oh, the president of the company is Mark Fiedler, eh? That could be useful, but I need his e-mail address. Hmm, a link to the "Newsroom". What good is that?

  Ah-HAH! I found the e-mail address of a publicity flack attached to a press release. That gave me the format and the domain name for e-mail addresses at BSM. I sent Mr Feidler an e-mail.

  I explained the story of the Alices Restaurant Masacree in five part harmony and full orchestration my area code, and could I please have 407-543-8633 so that as of 1999 November 01, my phone number would be 321-Liftoff.

  He let me have the number, and I've felt very grateful to Cingular Wireless ever since.



  In 1997, I worked for a fellow who had a business setting up plastic cellphone stands in campgrounds near NASCAR tracks. We programmed the phones so you could only reach the Operator Services company we used, who would collect your credit card number, and place the call for you. That was the year that Hayes Modems hired Wally Dalenbach Jr to drive the #15 car on the Winston Cup circuit.

  So I spent that summer watching cars chase their tails around various tracks, and looked at the NASCAR Phenomenon from the standpoint of a techno-geek with an interest in the advertising industry. I followed sponsors, not drivers.

  Hayes (whose modems I'd used since my Apple ][ days of the 1980's) was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the time, but had a car in the Winston Cup driven by Wally Dalenbach Jr. Cell phones were getting popular enough that everyone had one in their pocket, and didn't need our (admittedly expensive) service any more.

  When BellSouth Mobility merged with SBC Wireless to form Cingular Wireless, the website BellSouthMobilityRacing.Com died. The new company kept up the racing team, and in 2002 changed to RCR Racing and the Number 31. They did NOT have a web site for the racing team.

  By this time, I was settled into my new job as a "headset jockey" in a call center providing Directory Assistance services. I was a telephone operator for third party companies.

  On 2002 January 18, I purchased CingularRacing.Com as a domain name. It was after the Daytona 500 (January 16), the first race of the NASCAR season. They had plenty of time to pick up the Domain Name, if they'd thought of it. I just wanted to make sure some goniff didn't make off with it. If they wanted it, they could just ask me for it.



  Well, it apparently doesn't work like that. Just before the 2005 Daytona 500 (lets see, that's 3 years later?), I got a notice in my Post Office Box that I had an Express Mail letter that had to be signed for. I couldn't pick up the letter until the follwing week (after the race), because that post office has limited hours in the morning, and I had to wait for my mid-week day off to get the letter. It was a Lawyer Letter from Cingular Wirless' lawyers saying they were going to come after me with the AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999. Wrong thing to do. For one thing, it isn't a very friendly thing to do. For another, I was NOT in violation of the Anti Cybersquatting Act. I was running a Fan Web Site

  Oh yeah, and they said I was in violation of their Trademark. When I finally got around to Replying to their Lawyer Letter, I explained that in my search of the http://USPTO.GOV web site, I found that "Cingular Racing" was not trademarked, and that the 17 instances of "Cingular" that I found had no mention of "racing" or "race team" as a protected form of the mark.

  You know, I haven't heard back from the lawyers ever since.

  Of course, they've been having fun running http://Cingular31.Com as the "official" web site. I raid it for graphics & promos now and then, since these are things that any fan of the Team would be interested in. And I have reason to believe that fans of the team visit my site as well.

  And unlike other NASCAR sites, I also put in links to the Assoiciate Sponsors as well! Remember, my interest in NASCAR is from the Advertising standpoint. The Associate Sponsors are also chasing the NASCAR Nation at 200 MPH, just as much as the Primary Sponsors - however, their ad budgets aren't as big.

  As to the ads for Treo™ smartphones, well, I was an Internet Palm Salesman for 3 years, and I fell in love with the product. When I had a chance to combine my favorite cellphone with my favorite carrier, I just couldn't resist. If you're ever in Central Florida on the fourth Saturday of the month, visit the Casselberry Public Library in Seminole County, and attend a meeting of the Central Florida Palm Users Group. You can join our Yahoo Group, even if you don't live here. I'm the Moderator of the group.

  I'm starting to get tired of keeping up the web site, so if Cingular Wireless just wants to call me up and ask for the domain name, I'm inclined to give it too them. It would be nice if they offered me some perks, such as tickets to the next Daytona 500, or even to hire me to run the official web site, or offer me free cell service in thanx.

  But they should know that I have a price. I will GIVE them the domain name, if I can have dinner with the one person in the organization I desperately want to talk to. Jeff Burton, the driver? No. I've met him, got his autograph, wished him luck, etc. Besides, I'm not really a Jeff Burton fan. He's just our driver this year.

  No the person I want dinner with is the Webmaster who will take over CingularRacing.Com - I want to talk to him or her about not using Flash® on the web site. I consider it an issue of "The Digital Divide" - the Information Haves, and the Information Have Nots.

  There are many people who do not have broadband access to the internet, and use dial-ups, or public library access terminals. Many people use internet access at work to visit web sites, and in many places downloads (such as the latest & greatest version of Flash) is prohibited.

  I don't care if they lie to me, and swear up and down that they won't use Flash, and then impliment it the next day. I just want my innings before they do.

  All they have to do is call me to set up dinner.
  • Dial: (321) Liftoff (+1 321 543 8633)




Robert Osband
Computerist

Addendum:

  In December of 2006, I e-mailed "The Office Of The President" at Cingular Wireless. I then went to my "Sent" Folder, printed out the letter, and shipped it via Snail Mail to the Cingular headquarters in suburban Atlanta. A week or so later, I heard from Devon. In the message/letter, I offerred them the domain CingularRacing.Com simply because I was getting tired of keeping it up. We discussed the matter over the course of a few e-mails, and somewhere along the line, I suggested it would be nice if they could spare a couple of tickets to the Daytona 500. I couldn't ask for then, of course, because that might have been considered "Cyber Squatting".

  Devon was good enough to pass my name over to the division that handled the NASCAR Sponsorship, and I got my pair of tickets. My girl friend and I had a pleasant day at the race. I was a bit dissappointed that my ticket didn't get me into the sponsor's tent to schmooze with Cingular big-wigs, but I was content enough with the race.

  Let's face it, with AT&T (or at&t, I'm not sure which yet) taking over Cingular, it would only be a mmater of time before either at&t got out of racing, or changed the sponsorship of the car from Cingular to at&t. So I gave up the domain name, & got a pair of tickets to the race out of it. I considered it a good deal at the time, and still do. So that's the end of the story. The dastards didn't even point the domain name to Cingular31.Com but just let it languish with a Tombstone page for the Domain name Registrar they use. Oh well, it ain't my problem anymore.

Cingular Wireless

Richard Childress Racing Enterprises


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This web site is owned and operated by fans of the Cingular Wireless Racing Team.

This site is not operated by Cingular Wireless, RCR Racing
the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or the Easter Bunny.

Special thanks to James KI4GMB for graphic assistance.

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ver. 2006-08-05 23:42