Still Available by Oliver Laric is an on-going list of Web domain names which are still available to be taken.
Laric’s work Taken is an on-going list of all of those domain names listed in the Still Available series which have, in fact, subsequently been taken (at present, almost seventy domains are now taken from the over three hundred listed over the course of the series’ five installments).
In the earliest iteration of Still Available—Still Available 17.10.08—approximately one hundred thirty-five potential domain names are listed, each of which refers to keywords rich in value relevant to that particular historical time period regarding, for example, politicians, political theorists, luxury commodities, pornography, artists, art theorists, art world events, physics, pop culture, or cities.
These domain names are often funny and perceptive in the way in which they pinpoint strategies employed by “parked domain” companies who buy up domains in bulk using keyword strategies not unlike those employed by Laric himself.
So, for example, he lists domains which have no value other than a speculative one regarding the future of value-rich keywords such as elections2032.com, documenta13.com, and beverlyhillsninja3.com; or domains which combine vaguely-related value rich keywords at that particular moment in historical time such as putinpalin.com, gucciprada.com, and platinumclit.com; or else domains which just sound as thought they could be actual domains such as botoxbros.com, divorcebattle.com, or thenewsocialism.com.
Likewise, in the following four iterations of Still Available, a similar method is employed.
In this way, Laric creates a portrait of the practice of domain naming as an increasingly complicated and speculative enterprise which, in turn, results in a Web consisting of as many empty, “parked” domains awaiting potential owners as it does active ones—a portrait of the Web as a space undergoing not exploration, but relentless colonization into the predicted value-rich keywords of the future.
The Taken list of domain names underlines this understanding.
On the one hand, it’s true that some of the domain names from the list are taken by “normal” people or small not-for-profits such as the artist Billy Rennekamp taking billyrennekamp.com, a modest Amon Düül fan site taking amonduul.com, the “Frankly My Darling…” blog run by a middle-aged woman taking 13dimensions.com, or the breast milk donation info hub taking breastmilkdonation.com.
However, most of the domains were taken by Web-based companies in the business of parking on domains in order to cybersquat or provide advertising space (my favorite example is steaksonaplane.com which was taken by the Godaddy.com company to advertise its own services).
With all of this in mind, what one views here, then, is the way in which this increasingly colonized landscape is different from the geographical landscape of Earth in the sense that its potential space for expansion is itself continuously expanding as world events, and memes both high and low open it up to the contingency of the moment.