What's in a name? Plenty, if you have it copyrighted
By JIM BROOKS
Since commercial traffic was first allowed on the Internet, the
number of domain names -- the names that make up the all-important
World Wide Web or e-mail addresses found on the Net -- have increased
rapidly in number.
And with the explosion of commercial names entering the wired world
came the inevitable bumping heads of those who wanted their product
or company name in a domain name.
The alleged advantage is product definition. After all, typing
in the Web address for CNN is as easy as typing in www.cnn.com.
There's little doubt who owns the Web site at this address.
But suppose a group with the same initials -- lets say, Covington
Nautical Nerds -- already had a Web site up and running with the
domain name www.cnn.com. What happens then?
The situation has come up time and time again. The solution has
been that there has been no real solution. If I own a trademarked
name and it is part of your domain name, should you have to relinquish
it -- even though you've used it for years?
Yes and no has been the answer. Companies seeking domain names
with their names or products have used legal action to force the
issue. Time Warner started legal action this year against Roadrunner
Computer Systems of New Mexico because it had the roadrunner domain
name it sought. The case was dismissed after Time Warner decided
not to pursue it.
But if it does do so, a change in the policy by the company that
assigns domain names will give trademark holders more leverage.
Network Solutions Inc. is the company that hands out domain names
under an agreement with the National Science Foundation, and NSI
said this week it will now shut down within 90 days domain names
that are challenged by holders of registered trademarks.
The move isn't necessarily an improvement, critics say, since it
still doesn't address the problems that are likely to occur as more
holders of registered trademarks want a domain name for their Internet
MICROSOFT BEATS NETSCAPE. Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates
unveiled this week its latest version of its Microsoft Internet
Explorer browser software.
Internet Explorer 3.0 ups the ante for Netscape, by adding more
features that close the gap between it and Netscape Navigator, the
most popular Web browsing software.
Microsoft paid several Web site operators of subscription-only
sites to make them available free to Explorer 3.0 users for five
months. This includes free access to The Wall Street Journal Interactive
Edition, ESPNET SportsZone and InvestorsEdge.com.
In addition, other Web site's are being created to only work properly
with the new browser, including a political chat site by MTV Online
and a game or two on the popular Riddler.com Web site.
Meanwhile, Netscape promises its full release of its Navigator
3.0 to be available on Monday, and promises to have a handful of
Netscape-only Web site deals to counter Microsoft's announcement
For more details, visit the Microsoft and Netscape Web sites at
http://www.microsoft.com/ie/, or http://home.netscape.com/ respectively.
MORE NETSCAPE TRICKS. I'll admit that I'm a fan of Netscape's
Navigator, and prefer it to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. But even
the best software can be improved upon, and often there are tips
and tricks to improve user satisfaction with your Web surfing.
Readability: If your text on your browser is hard to read, experiment
with the fonts. Netscape lets you choose both the proportional and
the fixed fonts for text displayed in Web pages. Most of the text
you see is encoded in a proportional font. Fixed fonts are used
far less, for things such as tables and data that you enter.
You might also want to try a smaller screen font to get more information
on screen. Click on the Choose Font button in the Fonts tab to make
More room: As mentioned in this column before, you might want to
eliminate all or some of the toolbars in the Navigator display to
give you a larger viewable area. You can turn these items off by
unchecking the Show Toolbar, Show Location, and Show Directory Buttons
items in the Options menu.
Color me quick: It normally isn't done, but as the user, you can
pick your own combination for colors of text, background and links
that show up on your screen. Look under Options and General Preferences
to override the Web page's color scheme.
Faster surfing: To improve navigation speed on the Web, turn off
the graphics for Navigator under the Options menu. It takes some
time to get used to not seeing graphics, and of course, some clickable
graphics are a necessity in navigation the Web. But a couple of
mouse clicks can turn the images back on, and reloading the page
will bring the graphics back if you get stuck.
Cache master: A tip I discovered on C|Net Central's Web site suggests
making your hard drive cache size smaller in order to speed up Netscape
The theory is that instead of checking a large cache of stored
files and images, Netscape can just reload the page. Go to Options/Network
Preferences and click on the Cache tab to change this option. Some
say change it to never or only once per session. I chose once per
RELOAD MANIA. Ever wanted to reload a Web page and had nothing
happen? There's a feature know as a Super Reload that will force
Navigator to reload the current page.
In Windows, hold down the Shift key and click on the Reload button.
On a Macintosh, press down Option and click on Reload.