Arizona State fans searching for information about Sun Devils athletics may be in for an unwelcome surprise.
Oh sure, typing theSunDevils.com into a web browser still delivers fans to Arizona State's official athletics site as always. Shortening the URL to SunDevils.com, however, sends fans to the adults-only website of a nudist's group.
Arizona State filed a trademark claim over the SunDevils.com domain name on June 27 after the owner of that URL recently started redirecting traffic to the homepage of the Diablo Sun Devils, a naturist club promoting nude recreation. That site features NSFW content including a photo of a nude woman posing on the beach on its homepage.
Diablo Sun Devils co-founder Rod Marshall told the Arizona State student paper this week that he had no idea how that happened and he intentionally didn't take that domain name on purpose to avoid confusion with Arizona State.
"It's nothing that I ever intended to happen," Marshall said. "I wasn't going to do that from day one."
It's hard to feel sympathy for Arizona State because the university should have learned its lesson from a clever prank presumably conducted by an Arizona Wildcats fan last summer. In August 2010, Arizona State had to threaten legal action when the SunDevils.com domain name redirected fans to the official Arizona athletics site.
Arizona State initially wanted SunDevils.com for its official athletics website in 1996, but it was already taken so they settled for a backup choice.
At this point, the school probably should purchase any other obvious URLs like ArizonaState.com and ArizonaStateSunDevils.com. It can't be too much longer before fans from a rival Pac-12 school concoct a clever idea for those too.