back to article Dutch vacuum salesman pumps Google for €1m

A Dutch vacuum cleaner salesman is demanding a massive payday from Google in exchange for control of his company's web address, The advertising giant is aiming to end its heavy reliance on Wikipedia for useful search results by brewing its own web encyclopedia, Knol (it's short for knowledge, apparently). The new …


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  1. Kit Temple

    Bad timing

    It's pretty obvious that Google would need to pay many times more once their plans became public. They would have received a much better price if they told the guy some time ago that Knol was one of a number of options they were considering, and how about accepting 30,000 Euros to swap to instead...

  2. Edward Clarke

    KNOL is full of spam

    They've put this system up but aren't policing it. Do a search for "hair" and see all the spam that turns up. If I want spam then I'll look in my junk mailbox rather than download it from Google.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't companies check that domains are free before naming stuff?

    I mean, if this guy had, fair enough, but the big one - the .com - did Google not have a look, see it was already registered, and either make him an offer before launching the site, or just consider changing the name?

    Paris, because she checks the name before getting involved. Probably.

  4. Andy Worth

    Perfectly at right....

    Good on him....even if he wasn't using it for company business he has the right to own the domain based on the fact that it matches his surname. I wish him all the best in screwing as much as possible out of Google, as there's bugger-all else they can do about it, other than change their plans.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge


    He should do what Sky computing (Canadian if memory serves) did to the Murdoch TV Empire of the same name. They not only got a bonanza payout for but, for quite some time afterwards, the other Sky had to display a link at the top of the home page, splendid in it's isolation, saying "if you're looking for sky computing, click here" or somesuch.

    That'd seriously piss off Google with their addiction to minimalist home pages and, as there's a good precedent here, he'd probably be backed in this request by the registrars.

    Of course, he'd want to do this to allow time for his customer base to absorb the change and get his stationery and such sorted and not to piss off Google at all. Honestly.

  6. Si
    IT Angle

    Site SQL crashed!?

    Looks like has some issues with SQL anyway!

  7. Chris Walker

    Fair play to the Dutchie

    I'd hold out for more cash too - a lot more cash. Given the cash Google will undoubtedly make with AdSense on Knol, its about time some of the little guys got a slice of the action.

    <Dr_Evil>One hundred million billion dollars!</Dr_Evil>

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What tax

    Yes - income tax is high in The Netherlands - but not capital gains. See

    Good luck to him though and hope he exacts a good price.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Err ?

    Your search - Stoomreinigingssystemen - did not match any documents.


    Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

    Try different keywords.

    Try more general keywords.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Can't think of anything worse (well, that's not strictly true!). I mean, it's bad enough trying to find the right answer in a help forum. Wikipedia is ok as it only gives a few results, each of them on different (if related) topics. Knol sounds like you'd end up with a an amount of pages giving the word Knoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool along the bottom of the screen, each a slight variation of the others and none of them getting anywhere close to correct.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shady .com Characters

    A friend of mine said that his (largish) company employed people specifically, to pretend to be from some smallish company wanting to buy domain names from existing parties that the largish company wanted to have.

    The idea being that a small company would only spend a small amount of money for this, but if it was known that a large company wanted it, the price would go up of course.

    Cmon Google. Should have said you were Gogl instead of Goooooooogle.

    Slipped up myself though - went to register but those bstards just knocked a vowel out of it, and now look at them.

  12. Paul Hurst
    Jobs Horns


    Maybe they should get the itunes domain lawyers to steal his domain off him...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I read about Knol somewhere else just now and thought it was a joke.

    So... It's really happening?


  14. W


    Still can't believe they didn't pony up to buy the rights to Gmail in the UK and Germany.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem Solved!


    At least the spelling would be close to correct.

    (That's just to get Sam going, I know how she likes my pedantry)

  16. Emo

    They might have..

    ..everything else, but Google dont have the Knol-how.

  17. The Mighty Spang

    re:Don't companies check that domains are free before naming stuff?


    a good few years ago a major investment bank held a big meeting saying its online banking system would be called something or other (i could tell you but i'd break my cover. you ain't seen me right).

    a contractor walks back to his desk, checks the domain name. ooo its not registed. registers it on the spot and the bank having spent a little bit on branding already and not wanting a fuss or to look like complete pillocks had to pay to get the domain off him.


    and no it wasn't me.

  18. Gwaptiva

    @AC - What tax?

    From what I remember, the Netherlands may not have capital gains tax, but it does have something called "vermogensbelasting" [capital tax]. So yes, you don't get taxed on the gains from your capital, but on ALL of it (I remember a number like 0.8% but that is from a few decades ago).

  19. Theo

    @Gwaptiva - Dutch tax

    The Netherlands does not have a capital tax anymore.

    There is a now a capital gain tax, which is 30%, based on a fictional gains of 4 percent. Effectively it is the same as a capital tax of 1.2%.

  20. Leszek KENSBOK
    Thumb Up

    @JonB, AC

    > Knowl. At least the spelling would be close to correct.

    That would be NOWL.

    Just pronouce it slowly, loudly and distinctly.

    Google uses short words (mail, maps, news, mail) wherever possible (take notice: NOT email, but mail); consequently they'd rather use nowl instead of knowl. IANAG, and neither are you, so this discussion is academic in every respect.


    I wonder why they didn't name this subdomain "pics" - that's the word for photographs and sundry imagery on the intertubes.

    Anyway, using subdomains under their company name is both simple and clever. It lets them overcome every case of tricky domain squatting. Even better when they own "google" under all TLDs (which they now do).

    > advertizing

    A fine-grained tuning of Opera renders all websites ad-free. This is spam-free to those who are alergic to ads. Do not use Opera? Get an html-caching proxy, other browser + some extension(s), or a decent hosts file for your system, or, or, or. There are dozens of technical means to kill all that distracts you from reading.

    I do find Knol pretty interesting, especially if it is used like a library full of books, short stories and analytical literature. This is no Wikipedia; make no assumptions about it. Instead of elaborate search for an item of information I'd rather focus on a topic, and dive in.

    Thumbs up to Google.


  21. ratfox

    Dutch tax

    1.2% ? That's quite high, considering many countries have no capital tax at all (like Belgium)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    How About This Site Goog's!!

    At least it has the right spelling too.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Grassy Knoll

    No Comment.........

  24. Ed Zuiderwijk

    Knol ...

    Knol is Dutch for (among other things) "ball". Well Knol has balls, you might say.

    But perhaps in Googles case it should be translated as bollocks?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:Don't companies check that domains are free before naming stuff?

    Not really. Companies the size of Google etc. just assume that they will be given the domain once they register the trademark and pull out the lawyers. Apple are pretty good at that sort of thing also.

  26. rick buck


    I'd move to the Caymans or somewhere that gets next to none of the booty.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple

    Apples lawyers aren't that good - after all these years they still haven't got

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