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DavidBelle.com and Take Flight Apparel

Update:

This entire article is somewhat pointless now, because this picture just appeared on David Belle’s Facebook page:

Guess that makes this kinda irrelevant. But since I did quite a lot of research, this will be published anyway, just for reference. The opinions I had written have been deleted. (Although it’s worth noting that in the original article, I did conclude that David Belle’s social media accounts were almost certainly the real thing. See, proof!) Use anything below as a reference if you’re interested in the history behind this incident.

From this point up until to the second-to-last picture, everything appears as I originally wrote it.

——

Davidbelle.com and Take Flight Apparel

There’s been a good deal of controversy about David Belle’s new website, davidbelle.com. The primary point of contention is that – as of this writing – it seems to be little more than a watered-down advertisement for Take Flight Apparel. But before we can draw any conclusions, let’s review the available facts, verify those facts, and hear explanations from those involved. Then we’ll draw conclusions and see where those conclusions lead us.

Facts

  • The domain davidbelle.com has been in existence since January 29, 2006.
  • Davidbelle.com is hosted on the same nameservers as TakeFlightApparel.com and MisterParkour.com.
  • Adam Dunlap owns both TakeFlightApparel.com and MisterParkour.com.
  • Davidbelle.com and TakeFlightApparel.com use the same hosting company and their IP addresses are only one digit apart.
  • The domain davidbelle.com was registered before takefightapparel.com.
  • Davidbelle.com was registered using an anonymous proxy.
  • At different times, davidbelle.com has redirected visitors to misterparkour.com and revolutionparkour.com, both of which are owned by Adam Dunlap.
  • There is very little unique content on davidbelle.com.
  • None of this proves that davidbelle.com is not David’s official website or that it is controlled by Take Flight.
  • This is not the first time Take Flight has preemptively taken control of the future website of a prominent traceur. They — or someone masquerading as them — registered marktoorock.com two years ago and put advertisements for their products on it.
  • They did the same thing for timothyshieff.com.

Proof

Davidbelle.com was registered on January 29, 2006.

This is what it looks like with CSS fixed.

Source: Who.is

Before that site went up, marktoorock.com merely redirected visitors to takeflightapparel.com

Source: Wayback.archive.org

Predictably, marktoorock.com was registered using the same proxy service as davidbelle.com.

Source: Who.is

——

They did the same thing with timothyshieff.com. The only real proof I have for this is a blurry screen capture from Google’s cached pages preview, and an eyewitness report from someone who was there.

Source: Google.com

As you can see, it’s very similar to the design of marktoorock.com. The “parkour clothing” link can be faintly made out on the right. It’s likely using the same code as MarkToorock.com, just with different content on the home page.

And look, guess who registered it? The same proxy service. Granted, these proxy service things don’t carry a whole lot of weight — but it’s still information that could be useful somehow.

Source: Who.is

What those who are involved have to say

This issue was discussed in a thread on a friend of mine’s Facebook Wall. Adam Dunlap himself commented in an attempt to explain what’s going on.

(Click for a larger view.)

——

Now that is has proven to be the real David Belle’s social media… there isn’t much point to this post, except as a reference point for anyone who might be interested in Take Flight’s history.

——

Update 2:

What have we here?

You know what this looks like to me? Seems like they’re trying to become the official everything of parkour. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your point of view. Yeah, they’re a good company; but doesn’t having an “official” something imply regulation and control, which is against the philosophy of parkour? It might imply that. It might not.

Take Flight’s actions over the next few months will be telling; they now have the sanction of David Belle, a clean name, an established (and good) reputation, no real competitors…

Right now, they’re facing a choice. They can make like Urban Freeflow and start focusing on the money in parkour; seems unlikely, since they’re a non-profit. Or they can be like American Parkour, and keep true to the spirit of parkour. Only time will tell.

At this point, I honestly have no opinion on them. Take Flight seems to be a good company. They definitely make good products. However, in the past they’ve shown themselves to have no problem using slightly sleazy, though not illegal, business practices. See: marktoorock.com and timothyshieff.com. Starting now, I’m regarding them with completely fresh eyes. What they do in the next few months will determine my opinion of them.

What do you think will happen?

–Alan

Update 3: 10/19/11

Guess where www.gotparkour.com redirects? Click on it yourself and find out. I’ll wait. That domain was registered on April 12, 2011, if  you’re interested.

Yeah. It goes to TF’s Apparel page. I wonder how many other domains Take Flight owns…

Source: Domaintools.com

Holy CRAP. Ninety-eight? Seriously? Why?  I realize you might want to buy up the misspellings of your name just as a convenience to anyone who types in www.takeflightaparel.com and — woah. Hold on. That doesn’t redirect to Take Flight. Neither does www.tkeflightapparel.comwww.takflightapparel.com, or www.takeflghtapparel.com. Apparently they’re not doing that. So why do they own so many other domains?

I just sent them an email asking that. Will update as soon as they respond.

Update 4: 10/23/11

Another day, another parkour-related domain Take Flight owns.

As of October 23, 2011, parkoursale.com redirects here.

And no, they haven’t emailed me back with an answer to my question about how many domains they own.

Update 5: 10/25/11

www.traceur4life.com redirects here.

Update 6: 10/28/11

In all fairness, www.itakeflight.com is okay for them to own. www.doparkour.com, not so much.

Update 7: 10/30/11

TheFlightman.com redirects to their Facebook profile.

ParkourArmour.com redirects to the parkour apparel page.

Update 8: 10/30/11

www.pk4life.com redirects to their apparel page.

Update 9: 11/1/11

www.PKforLIFE.com redirects to, shockingly, their apparel page.

Update 10: 11/11/11

Parkourhoodies.com redirects to the hoodies page.

Update 11: 11/12/11

jumpflydream.com redirects to their True to Parkour page.

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  • Joe

    The conversation between Adam Dunlap and the others on Facebook made almost no sense. David and Matthew wouldn’t make the point clearly, and Adam seemed set on saying that somehow the whole site really being about Take Flight was not true, that by having almost nothing about David, but still a ton of links to Take Flight, that this is somehow the “spirit of parkour,” and true to David Belle. Did it sound crazy to anyone else?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Djones456 David Benjamin Jones

    Joe, I was the one in that conversation with Adam and Matthew. It made no sense at all to me.

    This isn’t the first time David has worked with shady people, so I’m not surprised to be honest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001795684440 Albert Perez

    Personally, I don’t think it’s David’s fault for working with shady people. I’m sure he thinks they have good intentions or there’s a perfectly good reason but the fact that Take Flight owns so many names bothers me. What are they trying to do exactly? Why do they even need so many domain names?! It’s really shady stuff and I don’t like it. Thanks for keeping us posted on this.

    • Anonymous

      Heh, thanks for affirming that I’m not being paranoid and that there really *is* something wrong with this.

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  • OSCar

    Apologies, but I’m gonna tell this in spanish…
    Bueno, para empezar, he sido avisado por mi “hotmail” que Take Flight quería que yo formase parte del grupo. Adam me mandó un mensaje bastante contundente, y nada de lo que aparece en él es sombrío… Posiblemente sea por eso que decís aquí, que se está abriendo paso y está intentando hacer algo que no sabemos bien qué ni cual es su objetivo.Yo soy muy fiel a la esencia del Parkour, lo que representa, obviamente no me gusta que comercialicen con él, ni que lo relacionen con la competición.La duda que tengo es, si me introduzco en el grupo, ¿yo estaría falseando? ¿sería un acto deshonrado hacia el mensaje original del parkour y conmigo mismo? 

    Necesito saber más cosas para decidir si acepto o no (que en verdad sólo debería colgar un vídeo en apoyo de la página, no hay nada de venderme ni obligaciones…pero bueno).
    Gracias

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