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Shoulda Pownced on Pounce.com

Is it still ‘cool’ to make Bad Domain Decisions?

A long time ago, bad domain names were kool. They were difrent. Call it anti-establishment, or call it uneek, but it was cool to look stoopid. Before search. Not now. Really. No longer. Not cool any more. Nope. Kinda stupid now. Yup. Looks bad. Ugly even. Not smart. Kinda looks cheap, too.

This month is the public launch of “Pownce“, a social messaging platform aimed at Twitter for its grass roots popularity yet likely to target Amazon’s wish lists for delivering the goods to the socially-interconnected masses. At some point the messenging socialites will start sending Teddy Bears to each other and when that happens, someone is bound to collect a few hundred thousand commission checks while amassing a Facebook-like profile database, and it looks to me like Kevin Rose and company is set to pounce on that opportunity. With Pownce. Owch.

Ouch. That one’s bad with 5 a’s….. baaaaad. The proper domain for this pronunciation is pounce.com, which is a “full-service creative boutique” in… I don’t know where because they don’t show it on the website. It is run by two creative types… whose names I also don’t know because they are not on the web site. They offer… let’s see, ads, ads, some affiliate book links… oh and “web sites and services” and “publications and print designs” (I see that in the footer). Well, I think they offer those services. I can’t tell if those are paid sitewide links or not. Given the overall cheesy nature of the site (ads front and center, and low-revenue Amazon ads taking up prime real estate tsk.. tsk…) I’d say this is a domain being held as an asset. Why doesn’t badly-named Pownce.com own it?

Of course I am being a bit casual here… close looking shows Terry Beatty is a partner in Pounce.com. With killer web sites like WoundedCoot.com and magnetic-photo-mailer.com these folks clearly understand domaining. And from the looks of the “popular links” at the top of their hosted websites, they clearly know a thing or two about SEO. Just check out that “learn more about Health Insurance” footer link on the “Cow Christmas” kids book site. Wow.

Okay so they also own healthinsurance.org, selfemployedhealthinsurance.us and WatchHumansFly.com, so they might be more sophisticated domainers than initially apparent. But still, would it cost so much to buy them out of Pounce.com? We’re talking about a major Web 2.0 launch here, from the guy who made Digg.com. Did Pownce.com even try to get Pounce.com, or do Kevin Rose and Leah Culver they think it’s still kool to be an unpronounceable mis-spelling on the web?

At least, if the creative dynamic duo behind pounce.com refuse to sell, get another name. It’s not cool to look stupid, and the thought of all that lost traffic from the pownce.com launch going to someone’s Mac personal web publishing platform makes me queezy.

Attribution: that photo is from TerryBeatty.com, and is an original resin scultpure of  Eddie Cantor. See more here.

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6 Responses to “Shoulda Pownced on Pounce.com”

  1. Peter Davis Says:

    Well, the competitive webmaster thing to do here would be to be the one who buys out pounce.com and to out-pounce pownce.

  2. john andrews Says:

    Executive Summary: Before the launch of Pownce.com, the pounce.com domain could be had for what fraction of the after-launch price?

  3. joe Says:

    I think its kind of a chump move to pick on Terry Beatty because he owns the correctly spelled version of Kevin Rose’s domain.

    John replies: Umm… I don’t see anything picking on Terry Beatty, besides noting that some websites on the server present themselves as legitimate business brochure sites yet don’t identify the owners or their location, that they include off-topic (spammy) links top and bottom, and that they are running on a Mac with default Mac web server settings (including empty sites and default error pages). All that is fair game for public commentary on a competitive web publishing editorial blog. At least it was the last time I checked in the with Thought Police.

    And all that has nothing to do with the happenstance of owning a domain name that is the correct spelling of Pounce. Apparently to his credit, terry & Co. got that first. Based on the above observations, it should be available for sale (by all appearances Terry Beatty is not a billion dollar corporation – do correct me if I am wrong).

    If anyone were to possibly look like a chump, it would be the people launching Pounce on Pownce.com. Unless there’s more to the story. Is there?

  4. IncrediBILL Says:

    When buying domains it’s always important to remember that a pownce of prevention is worth a pownd of cure.

  5. Adam Says:

    I’ve heard an interview with Rose about selecting Digg vs something else. He obviously sees no value in having the right name. Seems like every startup with a bad domain makes some other unsuspecting domain a boatload. Flicker.com and utube.com come to mind instantly, but how about when facebook was thefacebook.com and didn’t actually own facebook.com. (http://web.archive.org/web/20040121224607/http://www.facebook.com/) Wonder what that cost them? :)

    John adds: There are plenty of obvious ones, and probably many more about to be come famous. What a great source of traffic for he sound-alikes for these highly popular startups: Joost (Juiced),Automattic (Automatic),Geni (Genie.com),Kiva (so many like Keeva, Kiba?),Yoick (WTF?),Bebo (Beebo, Bibo?),RockYou (RockU?),AdBrite (AdBright), Boxbe (boxby?),NetSuite (NetSweet), Meebo (Mibo?).

  6. Terry Beaty Says:

    Just stumbled across this page while killing time “googling” my name. Just to clarify things — I’m not a partner in pounce.com — I just have a website hosted by them. An out-of-date website at that. My current stuff is all at http://www.terrybeatty.blogspot.com .