The Standard: RealNames’ Mission: Simple Words to Surf the Web

“RealNames, based in San Carlos, Calif., markets a technology
for using common words instead of URLs to navigate the Web. After a
deal in March that gave Microsoft 20 percent of RealNames, the
software giant will integrate the company’s keywords more deeply
into both its Internet Explorer browser and MSN service. With the
RealNames address system built into every PC that ships, the
current domain-name system of URLs could become invisible to
surfers, buried beneath a more user-friendly layer of common name

“When someone types a keyword or phrase into
the browser address field of Internet Explorer, the request is
routed through a RealNames server database
and then directly
to the URL linked to that keyword. Although RealNames
allocates free keywords for a few small personal sites, most
keywords will be sold on a yearly subscription
basis at the
low end ($100 per keyword per year) or licensed to major-brand
customers at several hundred thousand dollars per

“On top of the keyword fees, RealNames will get a processing fee
for each visitor delivered via its routers. The
per-visitor fee will range from 1 cent to 60 cents. Each time
Internet Explorer delivers a page to a user who types a keyword,
both RealNames and Microsoft will get a cut. The upshot:
For the first time, Microsoft is getting direct, nonadvertising
revenue from its expensively developed browser.”

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