Daily dose: Local history, more candidates file, It's not a 'holiday tree,' UI grad makes money in domain names

Daily dose: Local history, more candidates file, It's not a 'holiday tree,' UI grad makes money in domain names

Local history

In 1911, bloodhounds were brought to Ludlow this afternoon in an attempt to capture the chicken thieves who took six chickens from the coops of Ira Walker sometime last night. The necks of the chickens had been rung and their heads had been left at the coops. It is estimated that during the last year 200 fowl had been taken from the home of Mr. Walker, who buys and sells poultry. The dogs were brought from Paxton by Sheriff Fred Swanson.

In 1961, Preston O’Neal, owner of O’Neal’s Paradise, 401 E. Washington St., C, was notified that his restaurant license has been revoked by Mayor Emmerson Dexter because O’Neal allegedly failed to preserve order and had permitted violations of city ordinances by his customers. Several times during the last year police have been called to the restaurant to quell disturbances.

More candidates

Three more Democrats have filed for various political offices in Champaign County.

Ben Carlson of Champaign made it a three-way Democratic race for county auditor, joining George Danos and Kevin Sandefur on the Dems' primary ballot. John Farney is the only Republican contender thus far.

Eric Thorsland filed for another go-round in County Board District 1. He joins Republicans Gary Maxwell, Gerald W. Smith and John Jay in that district.

Rachel Schwartz of Champaign filed to run in District 7. She joins Alan Kurtz as the only two candidates, thus far, in that south Champaign district.

Candidate filing for county and state offices closes at 4 p.m. Monday.

So far the county primary races are for circuit clerk (three Democrats and two Republicans have filed), auditor (on the Dems' side), and on the Repubs' side in District 1.

Among state candidates, state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, still hasn't filed for another term but he told me Thursday that he's definitely comng back, and he'll probably file Monday. He isn't anticipating any opposition, Republican or Democratic, in the new 55th Senate District.

It's a Christmas tree, Quinn proclaims

From the Associated Press ...

Is it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree?

In Illinois it’s a Christmas tree. That’s what Gov. Pat Quinn calls the tall greenery erected in the main state office building in downtown Chicago.

What governors call the seasonal trees made news when Rhode Island’s governor recently called the blue spruce erected in the Statehouse in Providence a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree.

Quinn made his thoughts clear on the Christmas tree vs. holiday tree debate Thursday after lighting the state tree. There is also a tree at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield.

Quinn says people know there are different holidays during the month of December, including Hannukah. He says the holiday season is a time for people to come together whatever their faith.


Big Money in Domain Names

From The New York Times ...


If Amy Rule needs a Hanukkah present for her spouse-mayor, I have a loving idea: buy him an e-mail address, rahm@chicago.com.

It will soon be available. But so will barack@chicago.com, forrest@chicago.com, aviva@chicago.com, zambrano@chicago.com, kogan@chicago.com, mellody@chicago.com and a conservative estimate of 25,000 other first names and 88,000 surnames in the Chicago area.

What will the market be? The answer may interweave intriguing notions of scarcity, status and the extent to which self-identity is tied to location.

The person most interested sat in a Bridgeport cafe Wednesday morning, discussing the imminent transformation of a prized piece of digital real estate: chicago.com.

Josh Metnick, 38, is a bright and self-effacing north suburban native, a techie and an Internet entrepreneur who was writing computer code for a game called Mario’s Pizza by age 9 and cutting seven-figure deals by 24. During his senior year at the University of Illinois, where he majored in finance, he started an Internet service provider with three friends, including Jared Polis, who is now a Colorado congressman.

He and two others invested $5,000 each, while Mr. Polis invested $40,000. They sold it four years later for $20 million.

In 2001 Mr. Metnick beat out The Tribune Company and bought chicago.com for $500,000 from Karl Swartz, a California man who had acquired it for nothing from the nonprofit group that administers the domain system. Mr. Swartz used it as a home page, replete with photos of his dog, and Mr. Metnick has since spurned many offers to sell.

He makes money off it, but it’s limited and utilitarian, like many such city sites. Most owners coast on inherently potent brands and don’t invest much. And while Mr. Metnick is not a content producer, possibilities for enhancing chicago.com would seem ample.

Now his four-person operation is retooling the site to offer e-mail addresses with chicago.com domains.

He has sold a few names to friends and prominent businessmen whose identities I agreed not to disclose. Businesses include Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the restaurant chain, which bought lettuce@chicago.com, and Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P., a big law firm, which got seyfarth@chicago.com, and he’s in talks with Microsoft.

As a result, Mr. Metnick believes that individuals and companies may be willing to spend substantial sums. Initial pricing for individuals’ names will be $295 for a year, $735 for three years, $975 for five years and $1,750 for 10 years. A buyer will have right of first refusal when its time expires.

Just as many people crave vanity license plates — Mr. Metnick prefers the word “identity” to “vanity” — they may desire a personalized chicago.com address. As for the maximum 26 addresses using a letter of the alphabet, he thinks they could fetch $250,000 each.







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