Nope. No kittens. Or cookies. This is a column about pornography. Apologies for the ruse.
As our holiday season approaches and we test the girders of our very credit ratings with extravagant purchases and post-shopping-trip bourbon we all run head long into an age old problem: What do you get the person that has everything?
Clothes? Too much of a gamble. Who knows what someone will like, let alone their size. Somewhere there is a pile of ill fitting sweaters, pleated khakis and "ironic" rainbow suspenders that is replenished with each passing December.
Electronics? Good idea, but still dicey. You buy some Appleista an Android product and suddenly your yuletide turns from harmony to havoc.
What about an investment opportunity? What about the chance to take advantage of a little known rule regarding internet domains, which, for a small fee, can pay off big in no time?
No, this isn't some crackpot scheme a former college roommate Facebooks you about after 3 years of total silence only to tell you that you too could be a millionaire if you just give him your bank account number.
That kind of lunatic investment plan relies on fly by night organizations, questionable legality, and spurious business practices.
No this is something much more above board. I'm talking about pornography.
I'm going to give you a second to get your pen and paper ready to start writing angry letters.
On a Monday night I?was settling in to watch a new episode of "Hoarders" (the only show that actually makes me WANT to clean my house) when, during the first commercial break, I?was invited to take part in an interesting investment plan. By a TV commercial. A TV commercial asking me to buy a domain name for a pornographic website. During prime time.
This wasn't some unscrupulous, Marc Cuban owned channel either. This was A&E! A channel so comprehensive and nuanced as to encompass both art AND entertainment!
It turns out there is an organization called ICANN, or The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
These are the guys that get to tell you what constitutes a website; they are the people that say '.com', '.edu', and '.org' are real websites while my home made domain '.BOOSH' is somehow less than credible.
While still sounding like an acronym from a self help book ICANN has decided to lighten up about the whole "only three domain suffixes" thing and open the doors to a host of other suffixes.
Like what you may say? How about '.jobs' for employment sites, '.aero' for aerospace endeavours, '.museums' for, well, museums; and of course, '.xxx.' Not a lot of explanation required there.
So, how is this an investment? Ever seen a Western? The unexplainable commercial offers you the chance to 'claim jump,' or as it is known online 'cybersquatting.'
Basically you register the name of a website, then sit back and pay the small hosting fee every month, until someone who actually WANTS the domain name comes along and buys it from you.
As it stands right now the 'sunrise' and 'landrush' phases for the '.xxx' suffix have passed (the big corporate interests have registered their trademark websites) but the time is right for some enterprising entrepreneurs, in true American fashion, to strike a claim on what is bound to be the next great name in American pornography.
And what could make for a better Christmas gift this year then the gift of free enterprise?
Well, maybe socks.
Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.