ICANN, the international governing body responsible for doling out website domains, has approved the .xxx domain for porn sites. According to PC magazine, the purpose is to "carve out a portion of the Internet that will be set aside for the adult entertainment industry." Already, over 200,000 .xxx sites have been pre-registered. Finally, a place for porn on the Internet! Oh, wait, isn't that already the entire Internet?
Given the lengths to which prominent New Yorkers go to control their public profiles, you'd think they would have purchased their domain names by now. It's a $4 investment, which we're pretty sure billionaires like Jonathan Tisch, Steve Feinberg or Edgar Bronfman Jr. can afford, even if this is the greatest depression ever. After all, four bucks doesn't even buy you a glass of wine at a Jeffrey Chodorow restaurant or Noah Tepperberg-owned club. Or a square inch of real estate controlled by Jerry Speyer. Or a square inch of canvas at one of Larry Gagosian's galleries. As you may have read, we've been collecting names over the past few months. It's a bonus for you: Now you just need to go, say, annehearst.com or charlesgwathmey.com or davidremnick.com to get directly to their profiles—no pesky searching involved! We've accumulated more than 100 names so far. If you're interested, you can peruse an incomplete list after the jump.
Tired of endless campaigns for higher office? Sorry! California's 2010 race for governor is right around the corner. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman hasn't formally entered the race, but she's already busy making gaffes and working on her Web presence. Her reps are pursuing trademark claims against Thomas Hall, a domain-name squatter who registered whitmanforgovernor.com, meg2010.com, and others. Hall told the Sacramento Bee he felt strong-armed when contacted by Whitman's lawyers, and refused to sell. The Whitman camp is now spending $30,000 or more to recover the domain names through an arbitration process set up by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Any doubts she's running for governor?
Another embarrassing outage for Facebook: The homepage for Facebook.co.uk is displaying a set of directories, as if the server had been wiped clean. Before you blame Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg for this one, check out the domain-name registration. Facebook.co.uk is registered to one Cameron Winklevoss; last year, it displayed a placeholder homepage. So who's Cameron Winklevoss, and what makes this deception so intriguing?Cameron and his twin brother Tyler famously sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he copied the code for his site from ConnectU, a similar social network they asked him to help code while they were all students at Harvard. Facebook and ConnectU settled the lawsuit earlier this year. One wonders if Facebook's lawyers forgot to ask for the UK domain name.
Harvard professor and professional Internet gadfly Ben Edelman has released a study that says Google may be making $32 million to $50 million a year from "typosquatting," a practice in which cunning linguists register mistyped domain names in the hope that slips of your fingers will translates into pageviews and ad clicks. Why, that's enough to save the jobs of some 200 overpaid engineers from Google's otherwise-certain layoffs!Google has an advertising service, AdSense for Domains, specifically designed for these domain-name profiteers. But the company's flacks deny that such sites make money for the search engine. Maybe they should give it a try on the 9,984 domain names they do own?
If you weren't live-tweeting the debate last night, you have missed out on all the hoopla concerning Joe the Plumber — the Ohio Mr. Clean doppelganger that asked Obama about his tax plans for small businesses — now being used as the archetype for American blue collar. But it's another Joe, one from Texas, who owns joetheplumber.com and is reaping the rewards.Since the debate, Texas Joe's website has reportedly garnered hundreds of thousands of pageviews, 300 requests for T-shirts, thousands of phone calls, and even a $800,000 offer for the domain name itself. Joe should get in touch with Julia Allison right now to extend the snooze button on his 15 minutes, but at least I know who I'm going to dress up as for Halloween.
How has the McCain campaign let a key domain name, sarahpalin.com, escape their grasp? The domain was first registered back in 2004, and renewed in April of this year, well before there was any talk of Alaska's governor as a vice-presidential candidate. The owner of the domain, Peter Torkelson, has taken measures to disguise his link to the site after being outed in August. He's changed the registration to a "proxy" which hides his name and address. But Palin was surely aware of who owned the domain beforehand. With a month left before the election, why is it still up for sale?