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MySpace China's patio furniture puzzler

News Corp's MySpace faces URL confusion

A beta version of News Corp's MySpace community has launched in China, but users must be careful when typing the Chinese site's URL or they may end up shopping for patio furniture.

MySpace China's website can be found at www.myspace.cn. But users who type the address www.myspace.com.cn will instead find themselves visiting the website of Zhejiang Yong Qiang Group, a company specialising in outdoor furniture and accessories, such as reusable ice packs for coolers.

Representatives for Yong Qiang, which also uses the Yotrio brand, and MySpace China could not immediately be reached for comment.

A search of whois records maintained by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), which oversees the .cn top-level domain, shows the current MySpace.com.cn domain name registration was dated November 2003, less than six months after MySpace was founded. That was long before the first rumours of MySpace's interest in China appeared in the press.

The domain name MySpace.cn was registered in January 2004, according to CNNIC records.

Domain-name squatting is relatively common in China, where speculators have been known to register domain names that include product names of multinational companies, hoping to sell the names for a profit. In other cases, Chinese companies lay claim to a domain name before a multinational company begins to use it.

Such was the case with a Chinese domain similar to Google's Gmail service. A Chinese company, Beijing ISM Internet Technology Development, registered the www.gmail.cn domain for its own email service in August 2003, more than six months before Google first announced its free webmail service.

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