The Future of the Ebook
They're Here! They're Here!
Hey, you know what sounds like a great idea? Giving the juggernaut Amazon any more of a stranglehold on the book business. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Author’s Guild, the Association of American Publishers and those poor bastards at Barnes & Noble are all raising hue and cry in opposition to Amazon’s attempt to stake out such generic top-level domains as “.book” and “.read,” saying it’s a threat to competition.
Boy oh boy: The list of applicants for ICANN’s new top-level domains dropped today, and it looks like Google and Amazon like a lot of the same words.
Things are different from when the world (wide web) was young and no one yet recognized its promise. In those days, you could grab prime real estate and flip it for profit quicker than someone who bought a Soho loft circa 1978. But now everyone recognizes that a promising domain name means money, honey, and that means the term “land grab” is getting thrown around an awful lot.
With ICANN set to reveal new top-level domains any moment now, the number of available Internet addresses is about to balloon. Various organizations around the world have applied to register more than 1,900. A fair number of those are brands staking claim to their own names, like Google staking out .youtube. But companies like Donuts have applied to administer generic names like .bank and .baby, meaning businesses and individuals can soon register for the digital equivalent of vanity license plates. It’s going to get messy and it’s going to get confusing, fast.
However, there are several specific top-level domain purchases we recommend:
ICANN AND SO CAN YOU!
Hope you aren’t holding your breath ’til you can register that .money address. The expansion of top-level domain names has reportedly morphed into a “bug-plagued mess.” [CNNMoney]
Now here’s a blast from the pre-Internet past: Microsoft has partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica and will now prominently feature its information in Bing results. [TechCrunch]
Sounds like the legal community is losing patience with the patent wars. A judge just canceled the Apple-Motorola trial, because neither could prove damages. [Reuters]
There sure are a lot of dudes on Airtime. Hey Sean Parker, maybe another way to make the Internet less boring would be to interest more women in your service? Spitballing here. [BusinessWeek]
The U.N. is mulling a tax on American Internet companies. Good luck with that, guys. [CNET]
North Korea has discovered cyberwar. [ZDnet]
At first, all the enthusiasm for top-level domains was fun and actually totally understandable. Some of them–many of them, even–make perfect sense. The city already has .NYC in the works, and the European Broadcasting Union has dibs on .eurovision. But things are starting to look a little, well, frothy. Google has applied for .youtube and .google. Fair enough. But the company also wants .lol, which invites massive speculation.
And now, according to the Wall Street Journal, a startup called Donuts has raised a whopping $100 million Series A, in the hopes of becoming the go-to registry for top-level domain names. CEO Paul Stahura tells the Journal the company has applied to run 307 domains. And before you ask why .com isn’t good enough, don’t worry, Mr. Stahura has an explanation: