ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME ASIAWEEK ASIANOW TIME
SEARCH    GO

Dot-coms Redux
Opportunity knocks, and Indonesian Calvin Lukmantara listens
By ERIC ELLIS

October 14, 1999
Web posted at 6 a.m. Hong Kong time, 6 p.m. EDT


On Aug. 30, Calvin Lukmantara and his staff were busy in his Jakarta office registering online domain names. Ordinarily, there's nothing particularly unusual about that. Website domains are being registered at a rate of 250,000 a week and, after all, Lukmantara's company RegisterCentre is the Indonesian agent for Network Solutions, the Virginia-based giant that dominates domain registrations.

    ASIA BUZZ
Asia Buzz: What, No Coffee?
Why I love to hate Japanese inns
- Wednesday, Oct. 13, 1999

Asia Buzz: A Generation Apart
Two Asian entrepreneurs exemplify the region's vastly different outlooks toward the Internet economy
- Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999

Asia Buzz: Saving Face
Let's hear it for closed cities
- Monday, Oct. 11, 1999

Culture on Demand: Who's Got Seniority? Everyone Online Does
The silver set is starting to get with this whole Internet revolution thing
- Saturday, Oct. 9, 1999

Exclusive: Feds Ready to Indict McDonnell Douglas for Export Violations to China
Unless a plea agreement is worked out in the coming weeks, prosecutors plan to charge the defense contractor with violating the Export Control Act
- Saturday, Oct. 9, 1999

  ALSO IN TIME
Market Q&A
Each business evening with analysts around the region

  ASIAWEEK
Intelligence
The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

Daily Briefing
Today's headlines from across the region

But the name Lukmantara was registering struck a chord elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago, in East Timor, where that same day almost 500,000 people voted overwhelmingly to sever themselves from Indonesia in a United Nations-sponsored referendum.

Lukmantara is nothing if not an opportunist. As East Timorese voted, and as pro-Jakarta militias were planning their campaign of terror, Lukmantara registered a site called timorlorosae.com.

Timor Lorosae means Rising Timor in East Timor's Tetum language. It's the term independence leader Xanana Gusmao coined as the prospective name of his new independent nation. He and his would-be foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta have made numerous pronouncements declaring that they want the new independent nation of Timor Lorosae to someday take its place at the United Nations.

Lukmantara's registration suggests that he fully expected the East Timorese to vote for independence. But in the buildup to the referendum, his company sought to hedge its bets. So it registered timortimur.com. That's how you say East Timor in Bahasa Indonesia. Searching further, he discovered that easttimor.com had been registered, and by the pro-independence East Timor International Support Center in Darwin.

Lukmantara has no desire to develop any of his newly registered sites. If you call them up online, there's nothing there. And that's the point. It costs money to develop websites and Lukmantara aims to make it, not spend it. So he wants to sell the name--ideally to someone involved with the prospective Timor Lorosae government. As he explained to me, "I am not interested in politics, but I am realistic about it. I know what good names are valued at, and I think $100,000 is a fair price right now. I may even ask for a million."

A million dollars would go a long way in Timor Lorosae. It's about one-hundredth of the economy--before the militias razed it to the ground. Many East Timorese would see Lukmantara as giving them the ultimate cyber-insult after what they have been through.

But we in Asia can expect to encounter more cybersquatters like Lukmantara before any trade-practice laws catch up with them. Asia's slowness on the Net means that many companies and businesses had their names snaffled up before the Net and e-commerce entered the region's collective conscience.

Try logging onto krungthaibank.com and you get a Toronto-based ISP, not one of Thailand's leading banks. So much for online banking with Krung Thai. The same for Singapore's big Keppel Tat Lee Bank. Log on to keppeltatlee.com and there's the generic "under construction" advisory. Some Hotmail account holder in the Cayman Islands registered the name.

Even Richard Li and his Pacific Century group seem slow off the mark in the Net world. Although he markets himself as being on Asia's leading tech edge, Li didn't get hold of www.pacificcentury.com. When his people finally got around to registering their site in May last year, Li had to settle for the unwieldy pcg-group.com. The other site was registered in March 1996 from Kansas City, and it's good spot for lonely hearts in search of a mail-order bride.

Write to us at mail@web.timeasia.com
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.