I am a founder and CEO at SignalRank, a data driven technology company. I publish a weekly newsletter – That Was The Week – on Substack. The posts here are pulled from it. I also have a video podcast with Andrew Keenthat accompanies it each week. You can see the full catalogue on AnchorSpotify , Youtubeand Apple Podcasts. And I am a regular guest on Steve Gillmor’s The Gillmor Gang.

Category: Microsoft/RealNames,

Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

RealNames

A little bit of news. I have recently reacquired the RealNames domain name – realnames.com. This is some 30 months after we were forced to close the company. It feels good to have 100% ownership back of a thing I spent 5 years creating. To be honest I’m not yet sure what I will do with it. Anyway, I have all of the old data and have created – over a weekend – a new search engine based on the RealNames data. Yes I coded it myself – and it shows There are 3 types of search allowed: Keyword search.

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

Google rips off RealNames idea!

Thanks for the pointer Dave. The new Google toolbar clearly rips off the RealNames idea. I’m flattered. Shame they didn’t give credit, after all I am one of the inventors of this patent. Maybe I’ll go and start a search engine Microsoft’s own version of the RealNames idea is overwritten by the Google toolbar. With Microsoft’s version you always went to an MSN search results page from a Keyword entered into the address bar. With Google you often go right to the page – as you should. So at least Google has done it right.

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

MSN grows ad revenue by 40%

Yusuf Mehdi has been boasting on CNet about the revenue traction MSN has been getting of late. Full article here. There are some key facts for those familiar with the RealNames story. Start with this quote from Mehdi: “For the 2002 fiscal year, which ended June 30, MSN’s online ad revenue grew $40 million, he said. Between June 30 and Sept. 30, it jumped 40 percent.” Well, RealNames was delivering 600 million Keyword resolutions a quarter in the January-March 2002 quarter. This was growing 20% per month. Divide that by 1000 and you get 600,000 cpm earning events. MSN apparently

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

MSN 8 has Keywords!

Well, it’s been a while since Microsoft decided not to proceed with the RealNames Keyword product in the browser. Now …. 5 months later, MSN has announced that MSN 8 – the one with the $300m advertising campaign – will include Keywords. Suprise suprise! Danny Sullivan – on his SearchEngineWatch site says the following: “There is a new MSN Keywords system that will roll out with the MSN 8 Explorer browser, expected to be made available later this month. Similar to AOL Keywords, these are a single words or short phrases that work only for those within the new paid

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

IE – more growth!

Kevin Werbach has commented on Microsoft’s IE market share. I left the following comment: “IE has become – defacto – a piece of infrastructure. It is no less a gateway to content and services than Windows is a gateway to applications. In the world of web services – where binding the browser to a service will be a decision for Microsoft – the message should be “service-providers beware”. As you know, I think that imposes on Microsoft a responsibility to act in a certain way. IMHO what happened to RealNames is the first of an inevitable series of examples of

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

IE Growth

From CNet: This is why Microsoft has to be responsible in its decisions regarding 3rd parties. IE is NOT just an application. It is, de-facto, a piece of infrastructure. Its power is such that a decision to partner or not has the power of life and death over a 3rd party. Where that 3rd party is solely responsible for significant innovation then innovation itself is destroyed. In the world of web services the power of this application will create a universal gateway to services. The power to invoke a “travel service” or an “auction service” will be bound to IE.

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

IE Monopoly

This story on CNet echoes some of the points I have been making. Particularly this sentence: “What we’re seeing with Web sites that are viewable only with IE is the privatization of the Web,” said Mozilla’s Baker. “And that’s a dangerous setting. We’re moving toward a world where all the capabilities of the Internet are reprocessed through a single filter, with Microsoft’s business plan behind it.” Actually – I’m not opposed to Microsoft having a big market share. And if their browser is good, its cool for people to use it. What is a problem is that Microsoft have begun

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

MSN “superior” user experience

I have not had time to fully examine Microsoft’s replacement for RealNames, however, there are a few obvious points to make. Firstly, the claim that the user experience offered by RealNames was in some way inadequate, and that MSN was planning to improve on it, seems to have been clarified. Here are a few examples. Firstly, try typing “Google” into the address bar of the IE browser. In the old days, with RealNames, the user would have been taken to … guess where….. Google. Now, the user is presented with this page. Notice the first result: MSN Search. Hmmm. How

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

Hack

Here’s a neat tip. Every internet connected computer has a hosts file. On Windows machines this file is in C:windowssystem32driversetc. If you are running NT, Windows 2000 or XP this may be c:winntsystem32driversetc. The file is called hosts or hosts.sam. A small modification can render Keywords active again – at least for as long as the RealNames resolvers are active. Add the following line to the file by editing it in Notepad. 204.29.171.10 auto.search.msn.com By doing this you fool the browser into directing all traffic from the address bar to RealNames resolvers. If your file is called hosts.sam rename it

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Microsoft/RealNames, realnames

Assets

The following has been posted to the RealNames Web Site. RealNames Asset Sales RealNames Corp. has created several Executive Summaries that describe the services, including intellectual property, software and hardware, that will be sold as part of the liquidation of the corporationês assets.  These summaries describe RealNamesê: Alliance Keyword Program Contact Card Enterprise Keyword System Global Keyword Platform Internationalized Domain Names Resolution Platform ML.ML Internet Naming Platform Wireless Keyword Platform RealNames Patent 6,151,624 The summaries also outline the bidding procedures for the asset sale.  Bids will be accepted until June 27, 2002. To start the process of qualifying to participate

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