Ad Age reports that Microsoft plans to drop an $80 million to $100 million marketing campaign on our heads, trying to convince us Google causes cancer (or something), so picking the right name is at least mildly important. And it appears that name may well be Bing. In March, Microsoft trademarked Bing; that also appears to be around the time it purchased the Bing.com domain.
Interestingly, it turns out Microsoft never gained control over the domain LiveSearch.com. As PaidContent blogger Joseph Tartakoff points out, that domain is owned by one Tyler Tullock of Bothell, Wash., who seems quite pleased about telling Microsoft (or its proxies) to put its offers for the domain where the sun shines even less often than in Seattle.
[Tullock] says he has rejected several offers for the site. "I've had many offers—they've always been really stealthy—saying 'I represent a client blah blah blah,'" Tullock told us. He says that the most recent offer came about six months ago, when an entity offered him $40,000 for LiveSearch.com. Tullock asked for $800,000. They countered with $200,000, but Tullock had to answer within a day. He says he passed.
Maybe Tullock got tipped off when the buyer insisted on meeting him in an underground parking garage wearing a Groucho nose and glasses.
Microsoft won't confirm or deny trying to buy the domain from Tullock. Please. Who else would be interested? A domain name dealer who wanted to flip it for a profit, maybe. But why would the company hide its identity? And what other corporate entity besides Microsoft would have any interest?
The point: It seems Microsoft believed LiveSearch.com was worth at most $200,00, but really closer to $40,000. That tells you everything you need to know right there.
How much do you suppose the domain "Google.com" is worth? I don't think I can write a number that big without sending out for more digits from the Zeroes Factory.
Tullock couldn't resist sticking the knife in and twisting, just a bit:
Nowadays, Tullock runs a chain of seven music schools in the Seattle area, and parks Google ads on LiveSearch.com. "It makes me plenty of money sending all that Microsoft business to Google," he says.