An Iowa man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison over the first known bizarre instance of armed "domain hijacking."
"Domain hijacking," the act of illegally gaining control of somebody else's web address, is fairly common, but this was probably the first time someone threatened to steal a domain name with a gun.
Man Gets 20 Years For Attempting To Steal Domain Name With A Gun
On Thursday, June 14, Sherman Hopkins Jr., received a sentence of 20 years in a federal prison for attempting to hijack a domain name with a firearm during a 2017 home break-in.
In June last year, Hopkins, 43, broke into the apartment of a web entrepreneur in Cedar Rapids, and demanded that he transfer the ownership of the domain name "DoItForState.com" through the web hosting company GoDaddy while pointing a handgun at his head.
When the victim, identified as 26-year-old Ethan Deyo, asked Hopkins for the mailing address and phone number required to complete the registration of the domain, Hopkins pistol-whipped and tased him several times.
In an attempt to snatch the firearm away from Hopkins, Deyo was shot in the leg, but he was eventually successful in gaining control of the weapon and shot Hopkins several times in the chest before calling the cops.
According to the Department of Justice, Hopkins admitted to one count of "interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence."
Although it remains to be known why Hopkins had to resort to violence to gain control of the domain name, it is important to understand what it represents. "Do it for state," refers to a meme emerging from the Iowa State University, where one would shout the phrase before watching college kids doing regrettable things online.
A spin-off of the college confessions pages, in which people would secretly admit to doing stupid things, "Do it for state" documented user-submitted images and videos of students doing dumb things from college campuses across the nation. The content included everything from chugging four beers at once, sticking a firecracker in their buttocks, and even graphic sex.
The "Do it for state" phrase is what precedes the action. For example, one would say to his or her friend, "Come on dude! Don't be a wuss. Do it for state!"
DoItForState.com was inactive for a month before the "domain hijacking" took place. Before being taken down, the website described itself as documenting "College Stories, College Life, College Snaps."