Warning: This NPR Story About Domain Names Might Enrage You
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Story labels domainers cybersquatters, and then some.
Don’t click through to this NPR Marketplace story if you’re agitated today. It will only flip you off the edge.
In a story today titled “Biz model for domain names to change”, things don’t start off well:
Ever wonder why the address for the photo-sharing website Flickr doesn’t have an E in it? It’s because — and this is a true story — the founder liked the name “flicker” — E, R — but couldn’t negotiate the rights to it. The guy who had it wouldn’t sell. So, she improvised and came up with the next best thing. Cyber-squatting, as it’s known, has led to a whole spate of oddly-spelled company names and web addresses.
The story then goes on to tell why the days of selling .com domain names for a lot of money are over, and interviews two people who don’t own a bunch of .com domains to find out why.
There’s David Sarno, who explains:
I don’t know any of my best friends’ phone numbers. That era is gone where you had to remember phone numbers. Now, you just pick out your phone and click on their name. So, it should be a similar thing with businesses and entities of all kinds, where all I have to do is remember your name, and I’ve searched for your name online and it takes me to your website.
His analogy is great, but not for what he’s trying to say. The analogy is that instead of remembering an IP address, you type in a domain name.
And how about this, from narrator Cash Davis:
A lot of times the domain isn’t even in use. Some greedy opportunist is just sitting on it, waiting for you to buy it from him at an inflated price. It’s sneaky and outrageous. Or, to put it another way, capitalism. Because a good domain name is vital part of your brand, though, this is a real problem.
OK, at least they admitted it’s capitalism.
But here’s the kicker:
But uh-oh, wait. If you add these new names, what happens to all those greedy opportunists who basically registered the entire thesaurus to make a fast buck? I do hope they’ll be OK and don’t lose all their money.
At least like many Marketplace stories it’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
(Hat tip Nat Cohen)