New York Times
December 18, 2007
Remember our contest on the Coase Theorem? It asked for good examples of the Coase Theorem failing in regard to URLs — i.e., instances in which a company that is most motivated to own a URL for some reason doesn’t. The winner of the contest proposed Nissan.com, which belongs not to the car company, but to a far lesser-known computer company of the same name.
A reader named Simon Weaver, the Web editor of the N.Y.-based real estate outfit Barbara Corcoran, Inc., wrote in with a question that is a first cousin of the Coase Theorem question:
I am forever accidentally going to the General Motors Web site when I mean to go to Gmail. The URL is simply GM.com, which is what I always type to bring up Gmail.com; then I forget to cursor down. My wife is always doing it, too. Has anybody ever tried to figure out how many cars GM has sold to people trying to read their email?
I love the question. But my guess is … not very many. Does anyone disagree? Or, better yet, does anyone know?