Will You Read The Gazette A Century From Now?

It’s a fair question, considering that Network Solutions is now offering 100-year domain name registrations.

That’s right. For just $999.99, I can reserve fireantgazette.com* for a century, thereby ensuring that I can continue to blog to my heart’s content well after I’m dead. That carries some mind-boggling implications. Extrapolating from the first 18 months of the Gazette’s existence, in 100 years my faithful readers will have 47,000 entries to choose from, and will have left 80,000 comments. I have no easy way of computing how much disk space the blog will require, although the images alone will take up 300 megabytes. And, most importantly, if the current increase in readership continues, by the year 2104 every man, woman and child in the solar system will be reading the Gazette each day, along with a not insignificant percentage of residents of Sirius, irresistably drawn to the photos of Abbye. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford the bandwidth charges, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Seriously, though, aside from being a fairly imaginative marketing ploy, NetSol’s offer has little to recommend it. On an economic basis, it’s a bad investment. Even if you assume NetSol’s exorbitant $35/year renewal fee (is anyone still paying that?), the NPV of making that payment on an annual basis for 100 years is about $972 (based on an average annual discount rate of 3.6%). If you run the numbers using something like GoDaddy’s $8.95/year fee, the NPV drops to about $250.

Then there’s the reality of the marketplace. How many companies in the world have 100 years of existence to their credit, let alone a century without a name change? That corporate name etched in marble today is simply a paperweight commemorating the good old days tomorrow. Why, even today I’m in serious preliminary negotiations with a corporate sponsor for the Gazette (I can’t disclose any details, but I think the ointment tie-in is a natural).

So, ultimately, this is another example of man’s hubris in thinking he can create a lasting monument to himself. One has only to read the 11th chapter of Genesis to see how God views such efforts. And, even if God doesn’t find it necessary to intervene, man’s own ingenuity will likely do the trick. In 100 years, the domain name may well be the 21st century’s equivalent of the buggy whip, and a 100 year registration will be as valuable as a guaranteed 100 year supply of whale oil procured in the year 1904.

I wish I had the imagination of Jules Verne or Arthur C. Clarke in order to describe some of the ways our current “cutting edge” technology will be made irrelevant or otherwise consigned to a footnote in a future history textbook. But I suspect some of you have some ideas and so I pose the Rhetorical Question of the Week: What future development(s) will make Network Solutions’ offer of a 100 year domain name renewal even more ridiculous than it already sounds?

*Yes, I have registered fireantgazette.com (but not for 100 years and certainly not from NetSol), but I’m not yet using it because, frankly, I’m too cheap to pay for another hosting account. But, if you wish, you can use the URL because it will lead you to this site. Ain’t technology wonderful?

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