Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, August 11, 2021

Earlier this year, I posited that the chief reason why CBS bought Web media company CNET Networks was just to acquire the coveted news.com domain.

Since I still believe that, I was happy to come across this somewhat apocryphal recounting of just how CNET came to own that Web address:

[CNET co-founder Halsey] Minor’s volatility could make employees uneasy. In fact, he could be unnerving even when he was doing the right thing. CNET’s longtime editorial director, Jai Singh, recalls that after arriving at the company in 1996, he pitched his idea for a tech news site to Minor, suggesting that the company buy the News.com URL. Minor left the room midsentence with no explanation.

“I said, ‘Okay, I totally blew it,’” recalls Singh. “Halsey walks back in and says, ‘Okay, we got it.’ He had gone out and registered the domain name.”

Is this true? It’s hard to believe that such a basic keyword-based domain name was still floating around unclaimed as late as 1996. Did Minor actually register news.com in a matter of minutes, as related here, or did he have to pry it from some squatter? It wouldn’t have gone for the astronomical price it would have commanded at the height of the dot-com boom, nor even now, but even by then it was becoming apparent that domain names had value.

Mystery not quite solved, but getting closer.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/11/2021 09:04:45 PM
Category: Business, Internet
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