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Free domains help manage online presence


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POSTED: Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hawaii-based Chi.mp threw its virtual doors open to the public yesterday, announcing its no-invitation-needed availability at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

“;We ... are getting awesome feedback,”; said Rob Farrow, co-founder and vice president of marketing.

How awesome? The number of Chi.mp site owners shot up 40 percent in the first 12 hours, said Gib Bintliff, chief executive officer and king of the jungle.

Chi.mp is a Web domain and its name is an acronym for Content Hub (and) Identity Management Platform, as reported in this space before.

The .mp domain designates the North Mariana Islands, but that's not important right now.

Well, it is to Saipan DataCom Inc. and its partner, SDC Hawaii LLC, the Kapahulu-based startup that offers free your-name-here.mp domains to individuals. It also writes all the software for Chi.mp.

The online portal helps users manage their social networks and establish specific privacy settings for work, public and private access.

Not everybody is on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or myriad other social networking sites, but for one who is, managing so many online portals to one's life can lead to burnout and overload.

Online social media guide Mashable.com described such fatigue in suggesting that use of Chi.mp's social network aggregating abilities could provide some relief.

Chi.mp also can merge contact lists from various sources into one universal organism, which Chi.mp calls the Ultimate Black Book.

To provide some idea of what is possible, Chi.mp co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Mike Curtis invites anyone to take a look at his site at http://mike.mp/.

The company makes money in a few ways and has other avenues for revenue generation it will roll out over time.

Chi.mp currently places advertising on Chi.mp owners' sites. However, it does not place ads on the version of a Chi.mp owner's site that public, work or private contacts will see. “;We don't want to clutter up your identity and the way you represent yourself on the Web,”; Bintliff said.

It eventually will roll out affiliate widgets and will earn revenue through peer-to-peer recommendations.

The company also sells .mp domains to trademark holders for $20 a year and many strong brands register not just one brand name but variations, slogans and more, to prevent cybersquatting. Resolution of such infringement can cost $15,000 “;and it's not like the $20 (for registration) is included in the $15,000,”; Bintliff chuckled.

Monetization is a lower priority than providing a good experience for Chi.mp site owners.

“;We want it to be so good that people can't not get their friends to use it,”; he said.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).