web's eye view web's eye view
10.28.96  [current] and [back] issues and a bag of urls!

alan levine ~~ Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction ~~ http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/eye/

What's in a name ?

 Things are not always quite what they seem, especially in the webbed world. Advertising lore claims name recognition is the golden key. So big money and big egos come to the front when it comes to having your net presence, the ultimate vanity plate... your very own Internet IP address.

 When you play Monopoly many of us are more than altruisitc when it comes to being the bank. Control is power is control. In the Internet Name Game, here in the US, the names are doled out by the folks at Network Solutions Incorporated. Twas once it was free, but now you gotta pay.

 Sure you've heard the legends of young opportunists that tried to grab
mcdonalds.com right from under the Golden Arches.

 But let's play a different game... take some guesses at Internet addresses and see when the unexpected pops up.

to the
 IN THE SPIRITof the looming Presidential elections... who's got a presence? Out first stab is:

 Is it another ______ -gate? Do Bill and Hillary have a sideline gig? Nope. What you find here is:
Clinton Group, Inc. is an investment adviser specializing in mortgage-backed securities and derivatives. .... Believe it or not, some people think we can veto legislation just because we happen to have "Clinton" in our name. Follow this link if you surfed on in expecting a White House tour. "
They must get tons of hits from folks looking for the President in Altavista (or perhaps more fitting- Yahoo??) But lets see what the Republicans have to offer.. surely there must be some sort of site at:

 OOOOps! Looks like a good old DNS error, no URL found. Not promising for the elephanteers. Hmmmm. Let's be equitable and take a spin over to:

 Not quite fair, as the legacy of Ross already has a successful business site:
Perot Systems Corporation is a worldwide information technology (IT) services company that casts aside the traditional model of offering clients pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all solutions.
Or so it seems.

the times
 BUT ENOUGH OF THESE CLOWNS what about some characters with substance? You might be familiar with the case of the Roadrunner that almost did not get away. An Internet provider in New Mexico applied for and got the registered domain name

 before the folks at Warner Brothers (who even missed out on warner.com which was claimed by an insurance company!) could register it. A massive dispute erupted over trademark and the naming policy, more of which you can read about at (for now) the Roadrunner.com site (that it is the Albuquerque one)

But a real wiley genius can alway rely on the products of:


 which again, takes us to the unexpected!
So far, ACME Laboratories is merely the business name for Jef Poskanzer doing software development and consulting. Perhaps someday it will be more.

Note: the only affiliation between ACME Laboratories and Warner Brothers is that I've been a fan of Wile E. Coyote for thirty years."

 But at least the Warner 'tooners caught on, as:

 leads you to the Warner Brothers site as well. Curiously, my favorite Cartoon character

 brings you to a password protected "Home Box Office Business to Business Web Service" some sort of private directory site for HBO. But clever wabbit as I think I am, I take a guess at:

 only to find:
   "Hey! Hi!
               How's it going?
                                     You've come across a home of
                                     Chris Halsall, AKA the Wabbit."
From where you can read a cute explanation and even "feed the wabbit"

 PETS ARE OUR FRIENDS and why should they not be on the 'net? How about a pretty little

 which is not a fuzzy, warm, purring feline site, but the home of those big yellow toys
Caterpillar manufactures machines and engines that make progress possible around the world. With a network of 188 dealers, we also market, finance and provide support for those machines and engines.
Nothing should be more loyal than:

 that is until you try this URL and get:
404 URL Not Found

The specified URL cannot be located on this server.

 THE PINNACLEof net vanity is a net address with you own name! So, in the interest of me, I have looked long and hard to find my home:

 only to find my name is taken by the namesake of The Alan Colmes Radio Show! Not daunted, I though another option might be in the non-profit domain of

 Drat! It looks like Alan Research beat me to the punch, and is squatting there with a great name of almost nothing on the web page. [ed: At the time I wrote this this was the case, since then Alan Gibson wrote and said:
  Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 21:33:31 -0700
  From: Alan Gibson 
  Subject: www.alan.org
  To: alan.levine@domail.maricopa.edu

  Hi Alan, I noticed you are listing www.alan.org as being
  Alan Research.. "sitting there with nothing on the page".
  Well, guess what? They folded.. and I got the URL in 1998.

  Greetings to a fellow "alan"  Alan Gibson

There are services through which you can buy the rights to an email domain that is your very own-- in fact, I found VanityMail when i was toying around with:


 and there is another similiar service at Mailbox.com

 ITS ONE THING TO GUESSbut I should let you know that there are net tools that can let you find out even more than if a name is taken, but also the name and address of the person(s) to whom it is registered. It is known by the unix name "whois"

 Like in the example above, where the "dole.com" site failed to be found, the whois tool showed that the name really was owned by Dole Foods... We guess they just have not gotten around to building a web site, if you can believe that!

 The folks at interNIC hace created a nice web interface to the whois protocol, so you can investigate net names:


 so now you can run there and start playing your very own Internet Name Game!