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New Internet domain ideas for Boston businesses

Am I too late?

As you may have read the other day, the Poobahs of the Internet are mulling over more than 2,000 applications for new Web domain names. A wave of new names may be approved and begin to appear next year along with the familiar crop that includes .com, .org, and .gov. Experts breathlessly describe it as the biggest-ever expansion of Web addresses.

The requests on file cover everything under the sun. Many aim to protect brand names, and others form a collective Internet psychological profile (there are seven applications for “.love,” five for “.free,” and four for “.pizza” — discuss). Some want to claim seemingly narrow Web interests, like applications for “.ketchup” and “.duck.” The Globe has even applied for the domain name “.boston.”


The long list of applications proves no category of material is too broad or too obscure for domain consideration, and new possibilities emerge every day. Imagine a crop of domain names that could help us keep track of websites dedicated to pressing local business developments and stories. Such as:

.holdupcityhall. This domain could support Web coverage tracking all the companies demanding big tax breaks in exchange for moving some of their operations to the South Boston Waterfront, Mayor Tom Menino’s beloved new business district/development legacy as it grows. It’s a one-stop domain to keep track of the millions companies win as they vacate existing Boston office space for new digs on the waterfront. Count how many even bother to threaten a move out of town.

.weownLibertyMutual. Websites clustered in this domain would disabuse Liberty Mutual policyholders of the idea they actually own or influence any aspect of the big mutual insurance company. It would exist for the benefit of Liberty Mutual managers, with room for lots of bells and whistles — bonus calculators modified to accommodate extra digits and an interactive executive jet flight-planning site. Domain managers would not permit any information about annual policyholder meetings here.


.buyapresident. Here’s a domain that could support websites tracking the political bankroll of Sheldon Adelson, a casino-industry billionaire who grew up poor in Dorchester and made his original fortune right here in Massachusetts. Archive sites could track the Las Vegas Sands chief’s early presidential donations as he warmed up by writing seven-figure checks to Newt Gingrich. Other websites add up his even bigger contributions as the campaign gets serious and speculate what Mitt Romney might actually owe Adelson if he won.

.burningmoney. This domain could be home to websites tracking the incineration of public funds in terrible financial deals with individual companies. Start with Rhode Island’s $75 million loan guarantee to Curt Schilling’s bankrupt computer game company .38 studios. Then look back to Evergreen Solar Inc., the Marlborough company that failed despite a $58 million aid package from state officials in Massachusetts. Bureaucrats are awful investors, so new cases could make this domain a crowded corner of the Web.

Those few ideas are just the beginning. Lots of big Boston industries, from money management, to health care and education, rate their own domain status.

Sadly, I’m told the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is no longer taking new domain applications. The $185,000 fee might have been a problem too.

But some people expect the window for new applications to reopen before long. I can think of a million possibilities, and I bet you could too.


So here’s what you should do: Send me your ideas in an e-mail at the address below and write “domain name” in the subject line. I’ll run the best of the bunch in the newspaper and online next week.

The Red Herring

Manulife Financial has named Craig Bromley to become the new president of its John Hancock Financial Services subsidiary in Boston. Bromley will succeed Jim Boyle in September.

Bromley has been running Manulife’s business in Japan, the world’s second-largest insurance market. He had also led the Toronto insurance giant’s acquisition of John Hancock in 2004.

Manulife chief executive Donald Guloien praised Bromley as a “strategic business builder” who expanded the company’s business in Japan.

Boyle has been president of John Hancock for the past three years.

Steven Syre is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at syre@globe.com.