Keith Teare, the founder of Internet service provider Easynet and Cyberia Internet cafes, has launched a company offering a tool to make the current domain name system more simple.
As chief executive of his Centraal Corporation start-up, Teare claimed he is discussing deals with companies including Netscape, Microsoft, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite and Lycos for Real Names, its product.
Teare?s team has developed technology that allows Web users to type simple words into the address line of a browser and be delivered straight to the directly relevant Web site, rather than have to remember lengthy Web site URLs.
The Real Names technology is currently a browser plug-in but Teare expects Netscape and Microsoft to adopt it within Navigator and Internet Explorer within a few months. "We have no partnerships yet but the product has only just launched and announcements will come soon," he said.
Centraal charges companies $40 to register a Real Name address with it and its launch customers include Amazon.com, Honda, M&Ms, Mercedes, Paramount and Visa. For example, Volkswagen has registered 'new Beetle' so users can find its new car site by typing 'new Beetle' into the address field, whereas a search engine site would return a myriad of confusing insect-related and old VW Beetle-related sites. Queries also return the names of any unregistered sites which contain the query in their URL.
Teare claimed the idea works with search engines rather than competes against them and he expects co-operative Web traffic exchange deals with search engine providers, Web media companies and Internet service providers. He also said Centraal will not allow subscribing companies to register generic or inappropriate names - VW could not register 'car' or 'Audi' for example - to avoid the confusion in the domain name system and help businesses with their Web-based branding efforts.
Based in Palo Alto, Centraal boasts many former Next employees and offers free downloads of its newly launched plug-in at 'realnames.com'. The software is based on XML and uses the multilingual Unicode system so it works with all Roman languages, and eight other languages with different characters will be supported within 12 months.
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