Category Archives: Technology

ICANN Reveals Applicants for New Generic Top Level Domains – Is This a Good Idea?

The world got its first look at the folks who were able to fork over $185,000 each to apply for control over new generic top level domains. The top level domain name is what is currently the “.com” part of the internet address. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that manages this part of the Internet’s infrastructure, has been preparing for this broad domain name expansion for almost ten years. Based on the applications received, it looks like addresses will be available for a whole new proliferation of domain names with extensions like  .pizza, .carinsurance, .baby, and .books. Nearly 2,000 applicants were able to come up with this kind of money and the list of folks who want to control the “new internet” had a lot of familiar names–Google, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Chrysler, and Apple, just to name a few.

Several potential top level domains have more than one applicant vying for ownership. The hottest properties were .app, .baby, .baseball, .blog, .money, .pizza, .web and .vip. If the applicants can’t agree on who should control what, the name will go up for auction and many of these coveted domains are expected to go for many millions of dollars.

While ICANN is very excited about this process (after all, they took in more than $350 million dollars from the application process alone),  others are not so thrilled. Many consumer groups are understandably worried about a system that would allow our wealthiest and most powerful companies to own access to a generic domain, a situation which could result in the lucky owner shutting out its competitors. While this is a great deal for the owning company, the companies that are excluded and, ultimately, consumers, do not fare so well under such a system.

In addition, brand owners are understandably worried about this process and “new frontier.” Whereas a brand owner had to worry about competitors, scammers, cybersquatters, and counterfeiters acquiring confusingly similar domain names on .com, .net, and .org (which was bad enough), they may now have to fight on several new fronts. These policing efforts are expensive and fraught with drama and–given that many brand owners don’t think we need these new domains in the first place–are of questionable cost effectiveness.

Will consumers even care? Are people so used to searching for what they want using .com that these new top level domains will have the same relevance as the .info and .biz extensions? No one knows yet. But many companies with the cash to gamble are hoping that consumers will care and that these new domains are marketing game changers. Brand owners have no choice but to stay tuned, pay attention, and increase their policing and enforcement budgets.

New York Court Denies Chase Bank’s Request to Serve Alleged Credit Card Scammer on Facebook

A New York district judge denied Chase Bank USA’s Motion to serve a defendant via Facebook this week. Chase had attempted to serve the woman numerous times through physical addresses that it had tracked down for her but was unsuccessful.  So naturally, Chase wanted to take it to the next level and serve her through Facebook. The Judge would not allow the service (which was theoretically possible under New York’s laws regarding service of process) because Chase had not made a sufficient showing that she was likely to receive and read the material if service was made in that manner. So, as a practice pointer, if one needs to serve a defendant via Facebook, the lawyer should monitor the proposed Facebook account to see how often the defendant appears to post to his or her page, what sort of information is being posted, i.e., real wall posts or replies by the defendant as opposed to  unanswered posts by the defendant’s “friends” or random applications, and whether the page’s owner is indeed the right person. Based on the reasoning of the New York district judge, this is the sort of evidence that would be necessary to obtain permission to serve process in such an unorthadox manner. So, do you think you could serve a wily defendant through Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? It will be interesting to see where the law goes in this area and will likely be harder for the tech-saavy defendant with an on-line presence to avoid service  in the future.

New Amazon Facilities Are Expected to Add 1300 jobs to Middle Tennessee.

Now that Amazon has reached an agreement with the State of Tennessee over the collection of sales tax, it has confirmed its plans to add two new facilities in Middle Tennessee–one in Murfreesboro and one in Lebanon. The new facilities are expected to add 1300 new jobs to the area. The retailer already has existing facilities in Hamilton and Bradley counties in East Tennessee. Under its new agreement with the state, Amazon will start collecting sales tax in Tennessee in 2014.

Nashville’s Hammock, Inc. Reinvents Itself as Content Developer/Provider for the Health Care Industry

The Tennessean had an interesting profile of Hammock, Inc’s CEO, Rex Hammock, in the Technology section of today’s paper. For most of its twenty years,  Hammock, Inc. was a successful custom magazine printing business. Mr. Hammock found himself reinventing the company after weathering the loss of one of its largest clients–a client that comprised about 40% of its business. Since re-imaging the business as a health-care content provider, Hammock, Inc. has several major clients in the health care business, including some of Nashville’s biggest health care companies, like HealthStream and HealthTrust. Hammock, Inc. now creates on-line content and apps for this sector, producing videos and launching technology-based platforms for corporate clients that include a few non-healthcare based companies. Rather than simply printing magazines, Hammock now uses technology and the content it develops to helps its customers develop deeper relationships with their customers after the sale is made. Rex Hammock describes a wiki Hammock is developing for Healthstream that allows it to connect all the different kinds of information that it has compiled with the people within its hospitals that actually need that information. The HealthStream Competency Statement Wiktionary should be up and running early next year.

But Rex Hammock has other interests as well. He is widely regarded as technology pioneer, jumping into Twitter early enough to have the Twitter handle, “R,” and having the foresight to acquire the domain name “smallbusiness.com,” an on-line wiki he runs that has generated more than 26 million page views since he launched it five years ago. He uses smallbusiness.com as a laboratory to work on other types of businesses and to learn how customers want to see and access information. His thoughts on using social networking to develop relationships with his customers and other CEOs are well worth the read.  And while you’re at it, check out Hammock.com’s website. To celebrate its 20th birthday, it is giving away a free 2012 Content and Marketing Budgeting Guide that you might find useful.