Hello, friends. Please take a moment from your hectic, multi-tasked schedules and allow me to introduce you to an exciting new Internet venture. It represents the hottest trend in the virtual marketplace. I firmly believe it's the Web site of the future.
Welcome to Leiby.com.
Go ahead, call it up on your computer. You'll soon notice that www.leiby.com isn't cluttered with flashy pictures. There are no annoying advertising banners. It won't confuse you with endless strings of hypertext links.
In fact, Leiby.com offers you absolutely nothing. Leiby.com has been proudly content-free since 1998.
I would put that slogan on my site, except doing so would despoil its Zen-like quietude. "Under Construction" is the only thing my site says. It says it in 11 languages, including Chinese.
But Leiby.com is not just another unique Web site that speaks the global tongue of business. It is a unique domain. Perhaps you've heard that "domain names" have become an explosive growth market. Consultants and entrepreneurs are snapping up domains in a riot of speculation, convinced that claiming an outpost on the Internet today means they will be riding a tsunami of revenue tomorrow.
What makes a domain name most valuable to venture capitalists? Primarily, it must sound dorky. Therefore, Leiby.com holds the potential to become another lucrative Internet "brand": another Google, Gomez, Wingspan, Anywho or Yahoo!
Leiby.com is also on the cutting edge of another trend. Some experts call it "self-branding." I prefer to put it more elegantly: I have dot-commed myself.
By registering my domain at Network Solutions Inc. in Herndon (slogan: "The dot com people"), I have obtained an equity of untold value. Ten years in the future, perhaps, some hitherto unknown basement putterer named Horace Leiby will make a billion dollars by inventing The Leiby--a home liposuction device that attaches to your vacuum cleaner--and be willing to spend a mere hundredth of his fortune for the right to own his name on the Web.
Alternately, Leiby.com is an enduring equity that I can pass down to my children--and they to their children. Assuming, of course, that they are the highest bidders.
Leiby.com, portal to the future, cost me $70 for two years and is currently parked at Network Solutions. It accrues theoretical worth simply by being there, as the competition for names grows ever more hysterical. Every day, more than 10,000 new names are being registered with Network Solutions, which until recently enjoyed a government-sanctioned monopoly on registering Internet sites.
But now several other major multinational companies, including America Online, are jumping into the name game as new "registrars." Competition will make it easier for everyone to grab names--and harder for you to nail down the shingle you want.
Lawyer.com? You'll have to sue to get it. Truth.com? It's not out there. Jail.com? It's locked up.
And, sorry to say, friend, your own name may already be taken. Consider: DanQuayle.com doesn't belong to the GOP presidential candidate; it's owned by Gary Cohn of Wheeling, Ill., who also owns OJ.com.
Even God.com is taken.
"Every good American should go register 10 names and bank them," advises Cohn, who's also the proud owner of NATO.org, Election2004.com and HowIsMyDriving.com--along with 300 other Internet names, many of them for sale or rent.
"Own your name," he warns. "You never know what you may be doing in 10 years. It's a very small investment."
And it's bound to appreciate. Dot-commed names are viewed as more valuable than names with ".net" or ".org" extensions, which also can be purchased by the public. (You can choose any extension you want--or obtain a ".us" extension for free, if you want an extra-long address and have the patience and ability to comprehend several dense pages of officialese.)
"Having a dot-com suffix will have a certain cachet as more new domains are developed," says Samuel Birger, president of Nomenon, a Cambridge, Mass., naming consultancy. "As a top-level domain, dot-com gives the impression of being more established, better, stronger, than dot-net or dot-org."
Birger, a linguist, is former president of Whatchamacallit Inc., another naming outfit; he abandoned a doctoral program at Harvard (thesis topic: "The Syntax of Negation in the Anatolian Languages") to work as a cyperspace moniker guru. He says things like, "It was important for me to get a dot-commable name. How long do you think it will take for 'dot-commable' to make it to the dictionary?"
We don't know, but we do know that dot-commable investment opportunities are on the mind of every Dow Jones junkie. Just one problem: The World Wide Web today is like a pointillist's canvas viewed up close. How to make your name stand out in a sea of dots?
That's the tricky part. That's why we founded Leiby.com. We cut through all the so-called "content" to bring you a singular entrepreneurial vision: What you see is what you don't get.
Many people have constructed personal "home pages" that focus on their pets, hobbies, families, romantic adventures, obsessions with Hitler, etc. Some painstakingly update their cyber-diaries every day; they are truly "masters of their domains." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
But building a Web site requires more than just hardware, software, a level of technical expertise and a degree of exhibitionism (as well as a willingness to tend and prune one's digital garden). What about those who have neither the time nor the inclination to create content, or who simply don't know what to create?
Over at Network Solutions, many of the workers have registered their own domains--a free perk offered by the company--but the sites remain inactive. Devoid of content. Empty.
"It's what my life is, so why not my Web site?" quips Agnes Tatarka, a webmaster at the company and owner of Tatarka.com. "I keep thinking when I have a lot of free time or a great imaginative burst, something that I need to share with the world, this would be the perfect vehicle to do it. Time and vision are two things that are missing."
It's a common lament among today's harried high-tech workers. At Leiby.com, we offer the ultimate network solution: No pesky content whatsoever! No guilt, either. Simply link your site to my personal vision of vacuity.
For a limited time, I am offering a unique ground-floor opportunity for others to join in this empty future--a future built on my undreamt dreams. We are contemplating an initial public offering of Leiby.com to grow a company of infinite potential--and zero products, revenue and achievement.
Don't pass up a chance to become part of this unproven but obviously Internet-based brand name. Please e-mail me today, friends.
Leiby.com: Where nothing is possible.
Disclaimer: The preceding article does not constitute a prospectus or solicitation for investment. Direct all nonserious inquiries to: email@example.com