Go Figure

$5,000

Proposed opening bid on eBay for the rights to www.carrodoleao.com, put up for auction by Tony Ashcraft, a Texas resident. Ashcraft came to own the address through a strange confluence of events. He noticed it on a number of virtual posters in Rainbow Six 3, a videogame (shown here) for the Xbox. Thinking it was an extension of the game, he tried to log onto the site, only to find it hadn’t been bought —by Ubisoft, the game’s developer, or anyone else. Immediately he registered it, realizing it was a potential gold mine. (The virtual ads, he figured reasonably enough, could send as much traffic to the site as real-world posters would.) Then he set about trying to sell it. “What better advertising for a domain than to have it published in a Microsoft game?” Ashcraft wrote on his eBay page. “Best of all, you pay nothing for its placement, it is already there and cannot be undone.” He received no bids but continues to try to sell the domain—even linking it to porn sites in an attempt to generate traffic and make it more attractive to buyers. For its part, Ubisoft is weighing its options. “It’s too bad someone had to do something like this,” said a company rep. The significance of the URL name itself—carro do leão means “lion’s car” in Portuguese—could not be determined.