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Will News of the Screws reappear as Sunday.co.uk?

Is mysterious Sun On Sunday domain name a red herring?

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As the hacking scandal at the News of the World continued to unravel this week, an individual mysteriously registered the domain name sunonsunday.co.uk on 5 July.

Two days later, News International said it would shut down the NotW. This Sunday's issue will be the final one, after 168 years of the weekly tabloid.

The blogosphere has begun speculating about the idea that NI, which is headed up by one-time editor of the soon-to-be-dead newspaper Rebekah Brooks, is simply going through the process of rebranding the now-sullied rag.

But NI isn't behind the registration of the sunonsunday.co.uk domain name, which many people are currently pointing towards online.

The timing of its registration this week by an individual under the Mediaspring name could easily be interpreted as NI's big plan to shift its operations into a new Sunday tabloid brand. Mediaspring is also the owner of thesunonsunday.co.uk - and, according to Nominet is a UK non-trading individual.

But then consider another domain name owned by NI – sunday.co.uk – which is a much more powerful url, and was registered by Brooks' company way back in May 1997, when Tony Blair first took office as Prime Minister at Number 10, and before the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act came into being.

The domain name itself was updated by NI in early June this year. It's currently redirecting to the doomed News of the World website, and is displaying a classic 404 error message.

The Register has asked Mediaspring to tell us what it plans to do with the domain name, but it has yet to reply.

In recent weeks, NI made a trademark application to the UK's Intellectual Property Office on a range of classes, including the somewhat ironic "Apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound and/or images".

That filing is awaiting review from the IPO.

Meanwhile, News Corp and NI chairman James Murdoch has said that no decision has yet been made about whether the company will move its Sun newspaper to a seven-day tabloid. It's understood that an internal announcement about the future of that newspaper could happen later today. ®

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