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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Library loses its domain

Isn't anything sacred? Something as benign as the Web address for the Ocean County Library? Yes, http://www.oceancountylibrary.org/ no longer gets Internet users to see the offerings of the county's library. Instead, you get a home page referring to all sorts of online library stuff, including one marked "Meet Sexy Singles.'' Not exactly what the county library folks have in mind.

The domain name for the site, which the library system has owned since 2000, was bought by someone else after the registration expired Aug. 31. It's a cheap trick Web entrepreneurs use to gain access to a heavily trafficked site. Someone at the library dropped the ball in failing to renew the registration. Now the library is trying to buy it back - not the best use of taxpayer money if it's much higher than the typical domain fee (as little as $35 a year).

But all is not lost. The publicity about the name and the library's new Web address -http://www.oceancounty.lib.nj.us/ - just might drive new users to the very helpful site. Meanwhile, library officials should use the experience to inform the public about domain names - how to get them, their cost and re-registration - and the people who might poach them. They now have firsthand knowledge.

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