“I’m a domain addict. I own hundreds of domain names,” Zach Klein told The Observer, and promised to send a list. “For the past year I’ve been making a focused effort to try to divest myself of them.”
Mr. Klein was in the middle of teaching a graduate-level class on entrepreneurial design at the School of Visual Arts when The Observer spoke to him today via Skype.
His students are tasked with building a minimum viable product by the end of the semester–that project, plus a conversation with Kickstarter’s Fred Benenson, inspired Mr. Klein to issue an open plea to the internet: Send us your neglected domains!
“We started talking about this phenomenon and how many people we admire probably have domains like this too,” Mr. Klein said. “We think this is probably common. Domains represent ideas, that first manic seedling of an idea before it’s thought through. We thought it’d be fun to collect them and try to get my class to build them out just so that these ideas could exist.”
He first had his students bring in their old domains–like thankthemessenger.com, volunteered by designer Allison Shaw. “It was initially a way to anonymously send, like, ‘don’t quit your day job’ messages to people,” she said. She’s since turned it into a home for her portfolio and resume.
Mr. Klein has already received a few dozen donations in response to his request–“Stop cruel treatment of unused domains“–including ideas from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason and Ashton Kutcher, which could not be revealed, as Mr. Mason and Mr. Kutcher will be presenting their ideas to the class.
“My supposition is that a lot of these domains are actually great features for existing companies,” Mr. Klein said. “Others are just amusing to think that they could exist in real life.” Other ideas probably won’t go online, he admitted, but will act as a starting point and maybe iterate into something more useful.
Compulsive register-ers: Give that dead domain new life. First of all, Panera is not going to buy that .co from you. Second, it’s for learning! What did it cost you, anyway–$8?
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries