Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Great Landrush Fails .me

Domain names are important. They provide the first clue to a visitor about the website. Years ago, I bought the domain name because the name seemed clever. After some thought, the site name changed to Tux Reports. The Tux Reports named fit better. The site was about reporting on Linux and none of us involved with the site were interested in the idea of a penguin being a killer.

Sadly, good domain names are difficult to register. Most people end up buying long names, or inserting hyphens, or they attempt to be creative by respelling words or creating new words. Registrars have understood the challenge and have attempted to open up new top level domains by using country codes.

The use of country codes does not always go well. You may recall the .ws events of years ago. The hope was a rush of new names, however, people were not ready. The .tv names appear to be accepted but for months, many of us hoped the .me names would be valuable - a landrush if you will.

As of September 11,2007, the Government of Montenegro is responsible for the .me names. On January 18, 2008, GoDaddy announced an alliance plan with Montenegro.

The new registry alliance plans to invite all registrars, country code (CC) and top level domain (TLD) resellers to add .ME to their own list of offerings. However, the new .ME can be used by anyone – an affiliation with the country of Montenegro is not required.

If this alone didn't excite you, the GoDaddy site suggests:


  • Carve out a place on the Internet that’s all your own (includes FREE email address with your .ME domain name in it)!

  • Perfect for blogs, resumes, and personal pages.


  • Personalize your product or service for Internet-savvy younger visitors by launching a .ME Web site with your product name in it.

  • Protect your brand from competitors who might wish to take advantage of the name recognition generated by your popular .COM.

GoDaddy opened sales of the. me name yesterday but sales did not go well for everyone. People were reporting on FriendFeed, Twitter, as well as blogging that they thought they owned excellent names only to receive a notice an hour later that someone else already bought the name. The bad news even broke on TechCrunch. The stories in the comments show how popular the. me name is but also tells the depth of the GoDaddy errors.

Godaddy was issuing apologies today and explained the system was overwhelmed. What wasn't being said, though, was 2500 of the best names were held back for auction. Most likely, the good names were already taken.

Is there a lesson? Just like the Gold Rush days, the seller of the tools makes the profit and not the digger.