Netribution.com Twitribution.com

What if we could focus our ill will like a laser beam and simply (virtually) destroy evil-acting entities in one fell swoop? The internet enables that. The problem is in the details. Here’s the vision so far.

It’s a non-profit.

Anyone can ‘vote-up’ evil-doers for Netribution consideration.

Paid subscribers can ‘vote-up’ evil-doers at the second tier level. Their subscription fees pay for top-notch independent Investigative Reporters (like WhoWhatWhy.com or Spot.us) to thoroughly research the evil-doers doings.

Upon completion of the Investigative Reporters research, a set of demands is generated.

This top tier of evil-doers having been decided, the Netribution community now choose an ultimate evil-doer for a Day of Netribution.

The Day of Netribution is announced, and on that day the extended community goes Gladiator (think Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, etc. not DOS) on the evil-doer, virtually destroying their online credibility forever.

The evil-doer will have recourse to make amends, but only upon having met the Netribution demands.

Only after satisfying the considerations of the Investigative Reporter is the matter then returned to the Netribution community where another vote would determine whether the candidate could remove their ‘evil-doer’ status and return to the interwebs.

NFCHere.com

NFC is coming. This domain registration is around an idea where a store or restaurant owner creates an NFC Here! sticker encoded with the information they want to share via NFC. That simple- log in to NFCHere.com, fill out a short form, and pay for the number of stickers you want. A few days later, the stickers show up at your door.
It’s very likely that there will be many competing NFC payment/deal portals made available to retailers. The idea here is to give the store owner themselves some control over exactly what is shared, in addition to what Google or Mastercard are doing.

NFCHere

Branding With Available Domain Names – A Case Study

Photo by Michal Osmenda

When you have a ‘great’ idea, one of the first-actions you can take is to register the best domains you can find to brand the idea.

Even if you don’t execute, the perfect domain name may turn out to have some value later when someone else discovers the idea and decides they want to build a business around it.

Domainers have a phrase, ‘category killer’, they use to describe a top tier name that exact matches a search term, especially when it’s higher up on the search chain–like Shoes.com. The ‘long tail’ version would be domains like RedSpikedHeels.com.
Category killer generic domains are long gone. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so attracted to new idea websites. If the idea is fresh enough, you can create the category killer name for it.

It gets a little subjective at this point, but what I look for first of all is a domain name that is easy to remember but that also conveys the purpose of the site. Ask.com, eHow,com, Savings.com are good examples of almost perfect domain names.

While the internet may be young in many respects, with over 113M active domains currently registered, I can assure you that domain names have been pretty much picked clean.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to find a decent domain name available for registration prices. I am saying you’re going to have to work very hard to find one (or hire me to do the looking for you). Most likely you’re going to be better off having a budget set aside to buy a decent domain name. While a ‘category killer’ might cost you hundreds of thousands or more, for $2-5k you can often find a great domain.

The rest of this article is going to show you how I went about branding an idea for a new site. The idea is for an online tip jar service. Authors would create an account, paste a little code into their site, and users would donate with a single click. Pretty obvious idea right? I don’t understand why it hasn’t been implemented at the web 2.0 level. Let’s get started.

[Update July 8, 2010: Flattr is doing just this – an all-internet tip jar. Wishing them the best of luck with it.]

TipJar.com Originally registered in 1996 as a place for members of a small organization to pay dues. It’s the category killer domain name for this idea. At least it hasn’t been developed, although the owner appears to have ideas for it. This domain might be available for the right price.

iTip.com Doesn’t resolve. Whois shows a 2000 registration. iMac was introduced in 1998 so it’s likely that by 2000 people were starting to buy up every iDomain that was available. This is another domain I’d make an offer on if I were a startup with some funding.

eTip.com Doesn’t resolve either. Whois shows a 1997 registrations. Another candidate for a purchase offer.

And here’s a list of other unavailable domains, going farther and farther away from the perfect domain as we go down the list.

TIPPER.COM
TIPPED.COM
2CENTS.COM
ITIPPED.COM
TIPR.COM
HATTIP.COM
TIPWIDGET.COM
ISPONSOR.COM
ISUPPORT.COM
TIPTO.COM
TIP2.COM
TIPOUT.COM
TINYTIP.COM
TIPTIP.COM
TIP.ME
CHIP.IN
OPENWALLET.COM
TIPD.COM
HATTIPS.COM

If you want to see the entire list (if only to know what kind of crap is already registered) have a look here.

So what did I find available that wasn’t horrible?
HATPASS.COM
PASSTHEHATAROUND.COM
TIPAPPS.COM
TIPGADGET.COM
TIPGADGETS.COM
OPENTIPJAR.COM
EKICKIN.COM
IKICKIN.COM
ICHIPPEDIN.COM
ICHIPPED.IN

Did I actually buy any of them? Yes, and why.
HATPASS.COM  As in, Pass the hat. Sounds good out loud. Also I like the word ‘pass’ as in ‘season’s pass’. Try this on for a tag line, “Get a HatPass”. It’s short, associates well with the idea and is somewhat memorable. TipJar it’s not. But it’s okay.

So, for reals?
I would be building, testing, and talking about HatPass.com. It would be my working title. But if/when/as attention built, I would be looking for a little Angel money to go shopping. And when I actually launched I’d have one of these: TipJar, iTip, or eTip. Something like…

TipJar.com
Saving the internet. One ad at a time.

Flickr + RSS = Flickrss

ccBicycles From Flickr

Hear me out now. Sure, one of the most obvious mistakes a domain noob can make is registering domains that include trademarks. And certainly Flickr has a trademark. So what am I doing these years later registering a trademark domain? Learning another lesson?  The hard way? Perhaps, so let me state this up front. If you’re the domain police from Yahoo… I can explain everything. First of all, you’re welcome to the domain. Just show me your badge and I’ll hand it over.  But, here’s what I was thinking.

I want to, but can’t, put an advanced search into Flickr, find Creative Commons images around a keyword, and get an RSS feed of the results. Kind of obvious, but you can’t do it.  I’ve fooled around with Yahoo Pipes but I don’t have the coding chops to make it happen. I registered the domain and put this post up to try to attract a developer for the project. For the right guy this is probably a few hours work.

But too: Flickr champions homemade apps by users. Check out the App Garden.  A lot of the apps have the word flickr in them. Some of those even charge. I have to assume that Yahoo has a pretty lax attitude towards the Flickr mark.

Typosquatting, at least the way I think of it, is where domainers register typos of known marks for the purpose of profiting from error traffic (kind of like Verizon and OpenDns). An 8 for an i, a 5 for an r and suddenly you’re on a page of ads.  This is what typosquatting / cybersquatting domains look like. But wait a second… isn’t Flickr derivative of Flicker? Weird. Check out the numbers the Flicker.com guy has posted there – 3.6 Million visits a year! No ads. Hmm. With all that traffic spilling over from Flickr you’d think he’d have some ads there. But checking “flicker” in a Google search I see all the results are related to Flickr. No ads at all! Could it be that Yahoo would come after him if he did have ads there? Checking the Whois, I’m seeing that Flicker.com was registered in 1998, flickr.com in 2003. Complicated. It does get complicated. [Update: 20100614 Looks like Flickr parent owner Yahoo bought Flicker.com.]

Anyway, if you’re a developer and you can build Flickrss I’ve got the domain ready to go. Drop me a line.

One Off Records – OneOffRecords.com

OneOffRecords.com

A one-off thing is made or happens only once.

This is an idea I’ve had for a long time that I keep coming back to do more research on. Recently I was able to register a great domain for the business. Basically the idea, based on 30 years in music, is to gather musicians together in a studio for the purpose of creating 1 only, direct-to-vinyl recording. Then match the musical artist to an awesome paint/print artist for the 12″ cover and you have a one-of-a-kind record. There’s only one. The musicians all sign it. The artist signs it. Everybody participates in the sale. You can make the digital versions of it available for free- the free version generates buzz and interest and there’s still something of value to sell at the end of the day. And, there’s only 1.

Right now the pain point for me is the vinyl cutting hardware. I know a lot of great musicians. I have a close friend with a killer studio who really cares about getting great tone. But the last time I checked, vinyl cutting hardware was running around $10k. I also just discovered that the one I had my eye on, the Vestax VRX-2000,  has been discontinued.

One Off Records Vestax VRX-2000 discontinued!

What do you think? Do you know of anyone doing something like this already? How they’re doing? Also, if you stumble upon this post in your search for vinyl cutters,  please share your insights with me in the comments.

Shoe Toss – ShoeToss.com

There’s a LOT of Shoe Toss content out there. Besides the original buzz, a lot of the meme can be traced back to a game called SockAndAwe that was created by Alex Tew.

From TechCrunch Europe Dec. 17, 2008

Alex Tew, the Uk entrepreneur most famous for creating the Million Dollar Home Page, has stumbled on another hit, almost by accident. Tew is currently working on PopJam, currently in stealth mode, but came up with a viral game to promote the site’s launch in the new year. The smartly named SockAndAwe lets you throw a shoe at President Bush, referring his recent escapade at a press conference in Iraq. However, the game itself is now proving to be a smash hit in its own right.

The site has now been featured on Reuters, AFP and many other mainstream sites.

Today the site got half a million unique users only two days after launch. Now Tew has put the game up for sale on eBay as a further promotion. Bidding starts at £100 GBP.

Of course, the eBay listing will simply add fuel to the PR fire. It’s certainly a novel way to raise financing for a startup.

Here is the information from the eBay listing:

SockandAwe.com has gone viral on a massive, global scale. Here are some visitor stats (at time of writing, 9:02pm UK time, 17th Dec)

– 1,161,825 Absolute Unique Visitors since launch on 15th Dec
– 1,680,465 Pageviews since launch on 15th Dec
– 823,906 Unique Visitors so far today alone (17th Dec)
– 9,533 sources and mediums of traffic (that’s a lot of inbound links!)

Oh, and in the game itself: over 21 million virtual shoes have successfully hit president Bush’s face so far!

UPDATE: Entrepreneur Brendan McLoughlin has bought the game for £5215 on ebay.

SockAndAwe.com is now owned by Fubra who seem to be a development company that builds niche product social sites. They have over a hundred sites and seem to be fairly evolved. They’re hiring for instance. Some pretty sophisticated flash stuff. Check out their FubraWorld site. SockAndAwe seems to be about collecting (optional) email addresses from players. I don’t know anything about online games but I suppose this is how a viral game has value- a percentage of the players will leave their email addresses.

So what am I going to do with ShoeToss? A little late to the party? Considering that throwing your show at someone is a common insult in the Arab world. We can expect there to be more incidents. Perhaps the next incident will inspire a new game. In the meantime I’ll use this page to build a little directory of everything Shoe Toss and see what kind of traffic it generates. I’ll also be brainstorming the ultimate Shoe Toss game. I’m looking for a talented Flash game/widget developer.


Bush Shoe game at Mind360.com

sockandawe.com game
SockAndAwe.com

Read the Wired.com articles:
Bush Shoe-Toss Immortalized in Games, Animations

Attack of the Bush Shoe-Toss Games Continues

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Organic Coffee Sticks – Hemp Stirs Hemp Sticks HempStirs.com HempSticks.com

500 billion cups of coffee served a year. Every time I reach for one of those wooden stir sticks at Starbucks for a 3 second stir of my coffee I get creeped out thinking of those logging trucks full of beautiful trees rolling out of the British Columbia forests. If you already know about industrial hemp, this will make a lot of sense. But whether it’s hemp or flax or sunflower stocks – why can’t we get a non-plastic stir stick for our coffee that doesn’t hurt trees?

Hemp + Coffee = HempStirs