One thing that I notice sometimes in fiction written since the 1990s, and also noticed twice in advertising, is the use of Internet domains for ficticious but legal e-mail addresses and web sites, *in connection with the author not registering the domain, or not checking if it was already registered. * It is the latter circumstance that frankly baffles me.
(fiction) emersonfortheday.com - a ficticious site featured in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital series. This case is notable in that Robinson did not register the domain, but a reader did, and even put up a site that is close to the ficticious one (from its “About” page: *as a tribute to Robinson’s work and his message, I decided to make web imitate art. *) - Kim Stanley Robinson is fortunate here; someone from the nuke-the-whales crowd could have been there first and e.g. redirected the domain to the American Enterprise Institute or some other entity inimical to Robinson’s convictions.
(fiction) ruthless.com - title of a novel and computer game in the Tom Clancy franchise (i.e. not actually by Tom Clancy). Now apparently one of those domains owned by companies like Sedo who put advertising on expired domains. archive.org’s first archived version of the site was in 2000, and it was a domain for sale already then - looks to me like Clancy’s publisher probably never used it.
(fiction) A recent novel by Minette Walters has one of the characters advertise her services on her own Web site, on a .co.uk domain. As it happened, the domain was not registered, and I registered it, again gaining some moderate type-in traffic.
(fiction) A recent novel by Sara Paretsky has a family publish their web site on two domains, both of which I registered.
(advertising) Last decade IIRRC: a German store chain sold boys’ t-shirts referring to a subdomain of boys.com (note: NSFW due to being in older lists of porn sites - nowadays it’s parked but until a few years ago it used to be a gay porn site as anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have suspected). The domain was registered, but they did not bother to visit it.
(avertising): I noted once, two years ago, a German bank putting up widespread placard advertising featuring a URL of type http://www.a-generic-sentence-with-words-hyphenated.de . I registered the domain and drove moderate traffic to a site of mine for a few weeks while the placard campaign lasted
a) Do you know of any other examples?
b) Any speculation on what goes on in an author’s mind (and those of his agent and editor) when a legal Internet domain is referenced but the rights to it are are not secured? I cannot understand it at all - if I ever wrote a novel and used a ficticious domain name, I’d be sure to register it before any other person got to see the manuscript, if only to avoid someone else preemting me and e.g. putting up a ‘tschild sucks’ site or some other content to embarass me. (I would also avoid other real-world connections that could go wrong, e.g. if I put a child-molesting character into a house with a red door at a stated address I’d make sure the address does not exist and there are no houses with a red door near ist).
Surely for authors of the bestselling calibre of Walters, Paretsky and Robinson, there is enough money in publishing the books that at least their editor can watch out for such loose ends? They do usually already have an author’s web site that they could redirect any additional domain to.
Where advertising is concerned (as in the last two examples above) I can figure it out even less - advertising people surely are all aware of website type-in traffic?