Someone in cyberspace apparently objects to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's plea that people stop reading a local newspaper frequently critical of his leadership.

The website Robford.ca, which was Ford's website when he was a councillor, took web surfers Tuesday to a mostly blank page that said, "Rob, we're sorry!!" before forwarding them to the web site of the Toronto Star — the daily newspaper that Ford refuses to speak to, does not send news releases to, and which he has asked Torontonians not to read.

The site was not hacked: It was once Ford's — from at least October 2007 — and showed his voting record and council expenses. The site's ownership was allowed to lapse and on Nov. 16 it was purchased by an unknown buyer.

The website's new owner has changed the site several times throughout the day with various jokes about Ford, including placing him in a beauty contest against fictional soap opera character Bobby Ford and Jesse James-killer Robert Ford.

The online mockery comes shortly after Torstar Corp. said it planned to file a complaint with council's integrity commissioner about Ford's exclusion of the Star from official communications.

Ford says he won't deal with the Star until it issues a front-page apology for a 2010 article he says was false. He recently said during a radio interview that Torontonians should read the other three major newspapers in the city, but not the Star.

Ford is not the first prominent Canadian politician to have his name used on the web at his expense. Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord and former Liberal MP Don Boudria are among the politicians who have had their names snapped up by web savvy users making a point.

In 2005, comedian Rick Mercer bought www.jasonkenney.org after Conservative MP Jason Kenney called Boudria ignorant for not registering his domain name.

The Mercer-owned site redirected users to the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.

Corrections

  • This article originally stated that Fresh Grape Solutions Inc. owns robford.ca. In fact, Fresh Grape Solutions is the company that the owner registered the domain through. The actual owner remains unknown.
    Dec 06, 2011 8:20 PM ET