Thursday, 3 November 2005

What's the value in a name - domain name?

I am a supporter of distributed services, learning technology in particular. For example, the solution I proposed for overcoming the "cross-domain scripting" issue in SCORM (for delivering SCOs (Shareable Content Objects) sourced from repositories in different domains from the LMS) is based on distributed web service.

I see the future of technical support to learning designs (BTW, I don't feel that we can have pedagogically neutral technology!) is NOT based on a single monolithic implementation of something. In order to encourage innovation and experimentation, technological support of learning designs will be (and should be) distributed. However, such designs can be globally available via web services.

We have seen a lot of very innovative uses of web services. Geobloggers is an integration of google map and flickr; Housing Map is again google map and Craigs List. There are methods to use the huge amount of Gmail as online storage, e.g. Gmail Drive. This is only the tip of an iceberg.

However, all such services depends on one thing - the stability of the domain name providing the service. Unfortunately, domain name is a property. Even big company like Google runs into problem with its Gmail name in UK.

The breakdown of negotiations between Google and IIIR [Independent International Investment Research] ultimately comes down to money and a disagreement about the value of the Gmail trademark.

IIIR boss Shane Smith points to an independent valuation of the brand, compiled in December 2004 by Valuation Consulting Limited, which suggests a value of between $48m and $64m, although he says his company would have settled for much less.

Even if it will cost half of that valuation ($24M) to settle the case, what will stop Google spending $5.6M instead (the current stock market value of IIIR) to buy the firm right out?

Am I missing something here?


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