Monday, June 20, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, June 20, 2011, 11:10 AM
Internet Names Take New TurnReuters

How's .awesome for a domain name suffix? By the end of next year, that and countless other options will become available to companies and organizations with legitimate claims to specific domain names, thanks to a new decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

"The Internet body that oversees domain names voted on Monday to end restricting them to suffixes like .com or .gov and will receive applications for new names from January 12 next year with the first approvals likely by the end of 2012," Reuters reports.

"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN's board of directors, according to CNN. "We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."

"Experts say corporations should be among the first to register, resulting in domain names ending in brands like .toyota, .apple or .coke.," Reuters adds. "The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites -- and a danger for those who fail to take advantage."

"But just like real estate in the real world, this new virtual land won't come cheap.  The price tag to get a new domain created is $185,000," writes Los Angeles Times. "Only ‘established public or private organizations' can apply, and all applications must prove they have the technical capability necessary to keep a domain running."

"Thus, the blessing and the curse that are new GLTDs: companies get new opportunities to reinforce their brand names, but at the same time it means trademark holders could face expensive new challenges in defending their trademarks," writes CNet. Indeed, "The expansion in domain names may prompt large companies to acquire more Web addresses to keep their brands from being hijacked by others, costing $746 million, or $500,000 per individual company," reports Bloomberg Businessweek, citing estimates from earlier this year by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse.

At the end of the day, the companies that will benefit most are "big brands with a clear marketing and customer education strategy to exploit the name for competitive advantage," Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company that provides online branding services, tells Agence France Presse.

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  • Gavin O'Malley, June 20, 2011, 11:10 AM
  • Facebookers Flock To "LinkedIn" Features Facebook users want LinkedIn-like professional social-networking features. So says Inside Facebook, based on the recent popularity of BranchOut. The professional social networking Facebook app grew its monthly active user count from 32,897 to 817,367 in a week, according to our AppData tracking service, with its daily active user count following behind, at 163,578 today.

    "The unusually big spurt ... which the company says has come without any marketing growth, indicates that Facebook users want professional social networking," Inside Facebook insists. "They just apparently hadn't been given a tool that met their needs. This bodes well for other Facebook recruiting tools, including Identified and Work4 Labs."

    BranchOut launched in August 2010 as a simple app that showed users where their friends worked, and let them connect with friends to see employment of second-degree contacts. This past May, BranchOut secured an $18 million second round of funding from Redpoint Ventures, Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Floodgate, on top of a previous $6 million first round. Read the whole story...
  • Google Keeps Digital Library Dream Alive In other Google news, the search giant has reached a deal with The British Library to make about 250,000 of its historic books, pamphlets and periodicals available online. "It will allow readers to view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge on both the library and Google books websites," note BBC News.

    While Google has similar partnerships with about 40 libraries around the world, the company's plans to digitize copyrighted texts has run into serious legal problems in the U.S., BBC News explains. Among the first works to go online from The British Library are a pamphlet about French Queen Marie Antoinette and Spanish inventor Narciso Monturiol's 1858 plans for one of the world's first submarines. Library chief executive Dame Lynne Brindley told BBC that the scheme was an extension of the ambition of the library's predecessors in the 19th century to provide access to knowledge to everyone.

    "The way of doing it then was to buy books from the entire world and to make them available in reading rooms," she said. "We... believe that we are building on this proud tradition of giving access to anyone, anywhere and at any time." Read the whole story...
  • What Are Google's Plans For SageTV? Google this weekend scooped up DVR software company SageTV for an undisclosed sum. It's only a matter of time before Google TV adds DVR functionality, right? Not quite. Rakesh Agrawal, founder of SageTV rival SnapStream Media, doesn't think native DVR capabilities jibe with Google's grant strategy. "I recently read 'In the Plex' by Steven Levy and it gives a glimpse of how Google thinks," Agrawal writes in a blog post, "and for Google, the future is all about the Internet and the cloud."

    GigaOm's Janko Roettgers agrees. "Google TV is designed to work with existing DVRs, not to replace your DVR," he writes. "Sure, eventually, we may see a DVR that runs Google TV software. But adding DVR functionality to the next version of Google TV would duplicate existing functionality and make the devices even more expensive." What, then, could Google want with SageTV? "SageTV's place-shifting software, which is essentially a Slingbox for your PC or media set-top box," Roettgers explains.

    "SageTV place shifting makes it possible to watch live and archived TV programming on computers either in your home network or remotely. Third-party developers have already been able to port this functionality to iOS devices, and I expect that SageTV's engineers will be working on releasing an Android client as soon as possible." Read the whole story...
  • Bubble Or Not, Facebook Staff Cashes Out Paying for the mistakes of its Web 1.0 forefathers, Facebook is losing talented employees over fears of another tech bubble. "While Silicon Valley and Wall Street debate whether a new technology bubble is in the making, some early Facebook employees are not taking any chances," The New York Times reports. "They're leaving the company to cash out on millions of dollars in stock options while Facebook's valuation continues to soar."

    Says one former Facebook employee in reference to the first dot-com crash: "If you've seen the world blow up once, you just don't know what's going to happen a year from now." According to company policy, current Facebook employees can't sell stock. "It seemed very risky to stay in a situation where all of your liquidity was tied up in what I consider a high-risk company," the unnamed employee told The Times.

    More broadly, employees and investors at dozens of start-ups have sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of shares, according to The Times, which, in turn, is fueling what it call a "booming market in private transactions." Read the whole story...