25 years of .com
This past month, I attended the 25th anniversary party for the .com top-level domain. It’s hard to believe that DNS is 25 years old already. As you may know, the original .com domain name was Symbolics.com, which was a company that was, at the time, planning to build and sell LISP machines. I’m sure you can figure out how that worked out for them.
It’s truly interesting to ponder just how DNS has changed since those days. There are a great many more top-level domain names now, and some of them are just silly, like .aero. But behind all of those funny names is an economy built entirely upon thinking up words and then buying them. It’s a surreal experience, especially when you get to see some of the more esoteric domain squatters and collectors doing their jobs. A friend of mine used to run four- and five-letter words in the dictionary against whois queries. Any words that were not taken, he’d buy just to have. Most of the words he ended up with were ugly, often offensive words, but that didn’t stop him from making money off of sites hosted on top of those domain names.
It’s funny to think that words are worth so much. But if they weren’t, Verisign wouldn’t have sold off the rest of its business and focused on handling.com. — Alex Handy
Soon I may be compelled to give in to iPad mania. The iPad is ideal for cramped airplane cabins. As more and more airlines provide WiFi service, there will be more incentive to buy one. I like to travel light whenever possible, and hauling around a laptop and a backpack filled with books does not qualify. I’m going to hold out for a little while longer—possibly until the next version—so that there are more compelling apps available and prices plateau. Apple will also undoubtedly upgrade the hardware. I look forward to seeing what is next, and having it as my new travel companion. — David Worthington
Google escapes antitrust
After more than a year of antitrust concerns, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will not block Google’s US$750 million acquisition of mobile advertising vendor AdMob. With Apple’s iAds entering the mobile advertising market in April, the FTC determined there were no longer antitrust issues over the combination of two mobile advertising giants.
Also easing the FTC’s concerns over enough competition in the market is the entry of several other companies (such as HP and Palm) that appear to be developing or acquiring smartphone platforms to better compete against Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Susan Wojcicki, Google’s vice president of product management, praised the FTC’s decision in a blog and looks forward to working with AdMob to “develop new mobile advertising solutions for marketers, mobile app developers and mobile publishers.” — Katie Serignese