Second Questioning

Right, well, it’s not often I get confused online – being a total geek, I can practically see binary code as a oil painting. However, I’m not fully understanding the concept behind The Second Web.

It says it will be launching in November and seems to be, at it’s most basic, a web-browser within a web-browser. Fundamentally, not a bad idea – especially considering it’s apparently been dreamed up and built by a 16-year old – but huge problems come with it. Second Web has been built with the intention to find a new way of selling advertising space online, and already it’s become a nice little earner: With the option to buy .com-domain names (that already are being used in the REAL internet) for only $5, more than $25,000 has been made before Second Web is even online. This causes a real headache legally, as it can easily break copyright laws and potentially damage brands. For example, if you put www.google.com in the Second Web browser, you’re faced with a page that says nothing but “REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT”. What I can see here relates to an earlier post on this blog, where I commented about the ludricous amounts of money domain names can bring to their owners if they ever sell them on. It’s very likely that users have been snapping up big internet brands the (Myspace’s, Ebay’s and MSN’s of the digital world) in the hope that they can sell them back to these companies at an inflated rate.

I might have this totally wrong – maybe companies are happily buy up their domains for a second time in order to re-serve them on this second-level internet browser. In my opinion, it seems unlikely, as all sorts of issues arise; the fact that I doubt the sites will be indexed very well by search engines; the fact that to access this second-level, you need to have the browser-in-a-browser open; the fact that you could possibly be hounded by commerical lawyers for using someone else’s legally owned name. 

I’m also failing to see any solid advertising opportunity, due similar reasons that relate to what I’ve already mentioned – How would paid-search ads for a second-level-site be displayed in the top-level internet?! How (if at all) would top-level sites be advertised, second-level?! It seems to suddenly have a lot of issues and get very confusing when we start to talk about advertising. I’m also worried, it seems to have no relationship to any of the relevent monitoring bodies – eg. the IAB – nor does it appear to be a registered online business.

I might have this totally incorrect (can anyone enlighten me?) and I’m categorically NOT stating solid facts or making accusations. I honestly admire the thought and effort behind this project; there’s no denying it’s in the entrepreneurial spirit, but I can just see so many potential problems and pitfalls with the idea. It seems quite likely to me that established internet users, companies and advertisers will want to protect themselves as much as possible – probably through legal means and actively avoiding the site, but I’m happy to say that I could be totally wrong. All I can really say at this point is, let’s see what happens?

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