I noticed back on October 18th that the domain "SemanalMedia.com" was registered to a guy named Richard Flores in Huntington Beach. My immediate thought was that Flores was camping the domain. However, when I sent him a joking e-mail to congratulate him on purchasing LA Weekly, he responded: "???" That wasn't the type of response I expected.
It appears Flores registered a bunch of other domains in addition to SemanalMedia.com. I can't draw any conclusions from this list, but perhaps somebody else can?
12:52 PM: SmackOff24.com was registered to Richard Flores.
12:52 PM: SmackOff25.com was registered to Richard Flores.
7:02 PM: TheLALadyShow.com was registered to Richard Flores.
7:02 PM: TheLAWomanShow.com was registered to Richard Flores.
7:02 PM: TheLAWeeklyShow.com was registered to Richard Flores.
3:52 PM: The news breaks on LABusinessJournal.com that LA Weekly was sold to Semanal Media.
9:14 PM: SemanalMedia.com was registered to Richard Flores. Within a few hours, the WhoIs information would be edited, and it now shows the domain was registered to "Domains By Proxy."
9:14 PM: SemanalMediaLLC.com was registered.
9:14 PM: SemanalMediaGroup.com was registered.
9:14 PM: SemanalMediaGroupLLC.com was registered.
11:19 PM: LAWeeklyShow.com was registered.
I already know the significance of the first two domains. The "Smack Off" is an annual competition for fans of The Jim Rome Show. Sports Illustrated covered this year's contest, and summed it up this way:
In the "Smack Off," callers from across the country are pitted against each other in a pseudo-battle rap format in hopes of winning Rome’s approval, taking home a $5,000 cash prize and, most importantly of all, claiming a year’s worth of bragging rights.I don't think Flores works for Jim Rome or for CBS. He's just really into these competitions. Flores previously registered www.SmackOff22.com and www.SmackOff23.com, and neither site was ever utilized. He also registered www.CloneOnClone.com in 2013, and it seems he was trying to pitch an idea for a TV segment to Jim Rome and/or Showtime:
My guess is that Flores registered the other eight domains in anticipation that they might be valuable to someone later on. I don't know if there's a direct connection between his decision to register TheLAWeeklyShow.com and his decision to register SemanalMedia.com.
Maybe someone is planning to create a show under the LA Weekly brand?
1.) This was my attempt to screenshot the WhoIs information for SemanalMedia.com with Fireshot, before it was changed: https://imgur.com/a/yuKQ4
2.) The domain SemanalDigital.com was both dropped and registered on October 18th. I checked various registry sites, but can't figure out who owned the domain in the days leading up to October 18th. Furthermore, it was registered by some domain-parking service called DonDominio, and my impression is that DonDominio just snatched it up randomly because it happened to be available.