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    RealNames plays Unreal | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 17 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by Anonymous on Saturday May 11 2002, @03:55PM (#6244)
    First realnames, and next will be new.net.

    Then ICANN will be rebid, and the original applicants who were turned down will be approved by the US department of commerce to avoid serious antitrust concerns.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Saturday May 11 2002, @04:15PM (#6245)
    User #2810 Info
    F---edcompany.com carried this a week ago:
    Rumor has it RealNames' contract with Microsoft, the only way its crappy keywords work, expires today. Oh and... and their $30 million debt with microsoft comes due today too... Looks like bankruptcy in the midst.....
    When: May 03 2002 12:00AM
    Company: RealNames
    I didn't report on it at the time as it was near impossible to figure out which of many contracts with Micro$oft might have been expiring, or which loan might have been due, Micro$oft had invested $70m at one point. Fsckedco has been known to be wrong before, or at least premature (about new.net for example).

    Veri$ign also had a 10% stake in RealNames, with an option to go to 20% which they never exercised. The interesting thing to watch now is what becomes of the assets? It is already integrated in Micro$oft's Internet Explorer web browser, it might well cost more to take it out than leave it in. Veri$ign's IDN (internationalized domain name) service also used RealNames technology. One can imagine either or both of these behemoths picking over the remains. While the company may be dead I suspect the technology will live on, and perhaps even grow.

    As to why they failed, in addition to the reasons given, I mean, come on, 80 employees (and that after prior layoffs)? One could get away with that before the dotcom crash but that was long ago. The only surprise is that they've lasted till now. And like many once rising dotcom stars who crashed and burned, they also failed in their execution. I registered a RealName when they first came out. They pre-screened each name and wouldn't allow actual words, eg: auction, because then a single site would have a monopoly on that term. A year later I got a renewal notice that was so poorly written I couldn't figure out what I was required to do. I then got another notice saying I should disregard the previous one, with no further explanation. That was the end of my use of RealNames, nor have I since used them in a browser to go anywhere. They also got into hot water for reversing their stand on words and selling KeyWord 'books' to Amazon.com for a pile of money. There was a hue and cry about that and I don't now recall whether they backed down. They just never seemed to get their act together.

    They really had a golden opportunity, particularily with IDN (as true IDN in the DNS is years away, if ever), but they fumbled the ball, and this despite the backing and leverage of two near monopolies in crucial areas. If either/both of them assume more direct control of the technology, it may be too soon to count it out entirely. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by Anonymous on Sunday May 12 2002, @02:07AM (#6253)
    RealNames had something going for it ... but not enough ...

    New.net is just a piece of garbage.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Sunday May 12 2002, @04:19AM (#6256)
    User #2810 Info
    Keith Teare, founder and former head of RealNames, speaks out on the plug being pulled. Some interesting bits:

    VeriSign had just committed to a plan to give every com, net and org customer 5 free promotional Keywords for 30 days. This would have resulted in widespread awareness and great revenue boost.
    I don't see this as a panacea. That would have required that most of them would be very obscure keywords, hence little traffic. And even less revenue.
    We [MicroSoft] do not believe in "Naming", we believe in search. This is because we control search 100% whereas we could never control naming. Some of us believe search results are a better experience than navigation through naming. Sure the URL and the DNS are broken, but to fix it is a big job with no clear reward for Microsoft.
    I fail to see how Microsoft controls search 100%, even using Internet Explorer and MSN search (as is now displayed when one types a non-existent domain name using IE's URL line). While Microsoft has some control over search rankings, and could assume more by either screening each submission like Yahoo, or going to a pay for placement model like overture.com, it still wouldn't be 100%. Those not liking the results would use another search engine, and both screening and pay for placement results fall far short of using relevance algorithms as Google does. AOL recently replaced its use of Overture for searching with Google, for example. I can't see even Microsoft trying a stunt where IE wouldn't resolve google.com or yahoo.com.
    The only naming technology in the world capable of allowing non-ASCII characters to be used as web addresses is being killed at birth - before it succeeds and becomes "out of control".
    At birth (1998) is a bit of a stretch even without internet time. It also isn't the only non-ASCII naming technology, walid.com is one of the others.
    Now, Bill Bliss - who runs MSN Search and was until recently in charge of the RealNames relationship, has in the last few weeks been moved to "Natural Language Platforms" and is charged with developing a variant of our system. The browser is now back under Microsoft's control and it is possible that - having learned much from RealNames - it will develop its own version of our resolution service.
    Which is what I said here earlier. This may not allow MicroSoft 100% control, but it gives them more control. IE is the default browser for a majority (putatively 88%) of the world's users. The percentage in non-primarily English speaking countries is probably at least that high. Functional, though faux, IDN resolution would give MicroSoft yet another near monopoly. In practical terms, that's close enough. Indeed it is probably better than having a 100% monopoly as it slows down the regulators.
    What is shared cannot be controlled.
    Microsoft, and ICANN, understand that one very well. And MicroSoft has been at it far longer and now has a massive head start on IDN resolution. Be afraid... -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Sunday May 12 2002, @03:05PM (#6266)
    User #2810 Info
    tbyfield writes:
    we now see "cybersquatting" applied to language other than domain names merely because its context -- a browser's URL field -- is the same.
    I was going to point out that commonname, another keyword provider, had been signed on to WIPO for a Keyword DRP for some time, went to the link and lo and behold, RealNames is listed too. That is a fairly recent listing I think. I guess WIPO can kiss that revenue stream goodbye. It probably won't be long before they get new ones though, eg: subdomains. Isn't disney.example.com at least as potentially confusing? Isn't geocities.com/disney/?

    Slashdot coverage of RealNames imminent demise here. Keith Teare has responded to a few posts here. And his own site seems to be a work in progress, it has changed somewhat in form and content in the last few hours. And it's just changed again, should I start doing screengrabs? :) The link to 3. RealNames official release on the issue still only points to their home page containing older press releases. And is it just me or does Ballmer look a bit too much for comfort like Louis Touton? -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by Anonymous on Monday May 13 2002, @06:53AM (#6293)
    'Nice to blame all in sight Mr. Keith Teare, so as to divert attention from the fact that Registries and Registrars, also their Re-sellers (The same people Teare now refers to for the purposes of raising sympathy!) were being screwed by RealNames on an ongoing basis! Note that the product has been completely changed in nature and that that is the real reason for the demise - it was not going to fly! Changes include upping the price tenfold, pasting advertising on clients and users' screens, no search engine functionality other than on MSN, almost no media profile whatsoever. Worst of all, clients who bought the original (Better) product and invested in all sorts of material and media, were screwed no end, what with being forced to buy at the old price times ten! That is if they could get the Keyword. Imagine what this does to a Registry/Registrar/Re-sellers relationships with current clients. Lastly, their tracking and billing systems are so useless, they were not able to generate an accurate account in more than a year's time. Conveniently so perhaps, given the fact that the franchises (We contracted for 32 countries, some as Registries, others as Registrars and spent millions on roll-outs)they sold us referred to 300 times the number of active clients/words and totally ridiculous revenue models. 'Buyer beware' I hear - but they used the names of Microsoft and Verisign, Morgan Stanley and all the rest in sight to support their claims. We have tried to resolve issues for months, travelling around the world twice, lobbying, declaring disputes and now proceeding to court and in the process have found huge numbers of disgruntled parties, accross the spectrums mentioned. Feel free to contact me at cobus@keywordssa.co.za if you feel you can contribute or gain by doing so. Stop crying and start telling the whole story Keith Teare!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Monday May 13 2002, @09:42AM (#6303)
    User #2810 Info
    The RealNames press release on this is now available on their home page, in fact it pretty much replaces their former home page. And further interesting coverage is available at the icann.blog, see left sidebar of this page for subjects. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday May 14 2002, @07:13AM (#6324)
    User #2810 Info
    Keith Teare now has a weblog full of fascinating stuff. He say's he'll be on CNET radio at 12:15 pm PT Tuesday. You can tune in in San Francisco on 910 AM, in Boston on 890 AM, and elsewhere via the internet here, afterwards archived. He'll be interviewed by David Coursey, Executive Editor of Anchor Desk, who has written about RealNames demise here. There's an earlier CNET audio interview here.

    Not that I want to reproduce the entire blog here, but Teare also posts a revealing Kevin Murphy piece about the impact this will have on Veri$ign's IDN service.

    And M. Stuart Lynn sends him a letter of condolence (and apparently also wrote Bill Gates, though that doesn't seem to be available) reproduced below.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: M. Stuart Lynn [mailto:lynn@icann.org]
    Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2002 8:42 PM
    To: kteare@hotmail.com
    Subject: Sympathy

    Dear Keith:

    I was saddened to hear of the demise of RealNames at the hands of Microsoft. It must be very hard for you and all of your colleagues after all that you have put into it. I think you are right: the real story is that Microsoft wants to do it itself, control it, and own it. This does not bode well for the future of Internet navigation.

    What I do not understand is why they would rather not buy you out rather than let you go.

    I hope you can rebound soon and get into some other business that is not vulnerable to Microsoft. You have been a good friend to ICANN, and we hope we can work with you in some other capacity.

    What happens to all of the keywords that have been issued? Will they cease to resolve, or does Microsoft expect to continue the service?

    Warm regards and best wishes for your next steps.


    Lynn seems a tad concerned about Micro$oft. I somehow doubt David Hernand of new.net would get a similar letter in similar circumstances. Must be the inclusion of those pesky dots. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Oops by fnord Tuesday May 14 2002, @10:31AM
    Re: Lynn's letter
    by Anonymous on Tuesday May 14 2002, @03:55PM (#6339)
    Hmmm interesting. Lynn seems to be totally unaware that Teare set up the deal with XTNS to do dotted-names. S'pose he must have done a good job of spinning what he did an convinced Lynn that although he did the deal with XTNS he didnt really know what his left hand was doing :)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Keith Teare, meet Christopher Wilkinson
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Wednesday May 15 2002, @07:48AM (#6375)
    User #2810 Info
    Here. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: RealNames plays Unreal
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Saturday May 18 2002, @06:41AM (#6443)
    User #2810 Info
    Keith Teare (belatedly, because M$ never told him) finds out that Micro$oft has a patent on a keyword technology whch postdates his own, and a recently filed application to amend it. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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