The Shopping Club

More Reader’s Corner

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for my new homepage at home.switchboard.com/Brucelebruce. Readers may not recognize the reference to Bruce LeBruce (actually, it’s LaBruce). That’s because he’s a gay male porn star who has yet to find genuine crossover success. While hesitant to direct ill-will towards a stranger, I nevertheless hope Mr. LaBruce never makes it big. One of the nice things about being named Bruce is that you almost never get teased for it, the number of famous Bruces being about three. (Bruce Banner; Bruce Lee, Sir Robert Bruce.)

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On a related note–yes, yes, that was clumsy–readers have been asking about free domain name registration. That is: Can I get free dibs on www.brucelabruce.net, for instance? The answer is maybe.

A company calling itself Namezero.com claims that it will register a Web domain for you and provide a host of other services–for free. For instance, they’ll make sure that e-mail addressed to, for instance, bruce@brucegottlieb.net is forwarded to the account I actually use, and that anyone who visits www.brucegottlieb.net will be automatically directed to my ersatz homepage …

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Several other firms offer this service (e.g., Register.com and Network Solutions), but they charge $35 a year and often require a minimum buy of two years. (In days past, Network Solutions had a government-granted monopoly on assigning domain names, but the government de-regulated the market late last year, though prices still haven’t fallen.)

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I signed up with Namezero.com earlier this week, only to receive a bit of e-mail saying, in effect, “Thanks for signing up–we’ll get back to you.” The fine print says that they plan to launch in … well, they don’t actually say. So no promises, folks.

At any rate, Andrew, it’s been fun corresponding with you. Getting something for nothing was far easier than I’d hoped. When future historians locate the Protestant ethic’s precise time of death, I wonder if it won’t be somehow related to the birth of the Web.

All the best,
Bruce

Editor’s note:

Click here to read earlier entries on free long-distance and other phone services, and here for entries discussing free Web-based storage and faxing and free ISPs.

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