In this dream I was in New York, during some kind of conference and was meeting with Rupert Murdoch about a strategic merger.. A faceless female assistant or key staff-member (who is a mutual acquaintance in said dream) had arranged to bring Rupert by my hotel suite as he made his way to some other meeting. In the office of the suite we talked about the domain name business, how domain name traffic powers part of Google, Yahoo and drives a significant portion of generic-intenet Internet traffic.. Rupe tried to get his head around the concept that many of the companies he had bought and invested in had domain name underpinnings. He was quite clever, savvy and aware of things in my dream.
As much as I wanted to take this meeting to talk shop with today's William Randolph Hearst, Rupert had somehow heard of me (and the domain industry) and he wanted to take the meeting as well! It wasn't a love-fest meeting though. Rupert was the classic 2002 era skeptic.. He wanted to talk about charts and projections through 2012. He seemed hurried, synopsizing the domain industry's highlights and playing devils advocate, talking about fragmented interests and the difficulty of uniting a scatter-shot domain audience around a cohesive core or brand. It didn't seem like I was going to sell Mr. Murdoch on the benefits of merging a large domain network with his media content core.
I had several browser windows open during our discussion and suddenly, as we were in the wrap-up phase of our conversation (Rupert had his coat over his arm and umbrella in hand) it occurred to me to resize two of the open browser windows on my laptop...
What would happen if every time somebody typed one of our potent domain names they received a single split-screen of targeted paid search advertising, married to a relevant Newscorp media content page? Type a cooking name and get a relevant food story from today's Newscorp newspaper... Type Sportscores.com and get ads coupled with the sports section of Foxnews.. Type PersonalLoans.com and get a split-screen with related content from the WSJ.. Rupert's eye's lit up. I explained how a mash-up of my traffic with his rotating content could turn the 30 million unique visitors we get each month into 60 or 100 million as people came back for more. Then we could ramp up our own Domain Sponsor style third-party syndication business to augment our own proprietary traffic with other domainer's traffic; making Newscorp websites the most visited on the Internet in about 6 months.
Rupert started talking about creating his own ad marketplace and the mechanics of our proposed merger when it suddenly occurred to me that I had already signed a deal to be sold to a less strategic company for hundreds of millions of dollars less than Rupert was offering.. Then I woke up... That's what you call a 'high-class nightmare' folks :)
It was the implementation in the Murdoch dream that still resonated the morning after. The content exists today.. the domain name networks exist today.. They are an invisible traffic source, generating hundreds of millions of unique visits a month globally. How could Newscorp or another media content house elevate it's Internet presence and exert control over Google by injecting itself as a domain name network owner/sub-syndicator and marrying content to each and every page load?
Lawrence Ng should have a 'frank' conversation with Rupert's people :)