El Gato to AOL Execs: Whats in a Name?

AOL and Roxio take a big gamble on pay-to-play services.

As reports of the impending death of the music CD continue to pop up, theres no denying the validity of the media mantra that "record company execs just dont get it." But the Furball is starting to wonder if anyone at the big Internet companies "gets it," either, as AOL and Roxio roll out pay-to-play services.

All eyes will be on the AOL service to see if it can persuade its captive audience of more than 27 million to pay to play and burn.

But when it comes to AOL, the Kitty would much rather pay to watch a Webcam trained on newly appointed AOL chief Richard Parsons. Apparently, the board is split on whether to erase the name AOL from the AOL Time Warner logo.

Roxios business model, just at a glance, seems to consist of wrapping the Napster brand, which it purchased late last year, around a Pressplay-type service and promoting it with newly hired consultant Shawn Fanning. It sounds to El Gato as if Roxios use of Fanning, whose original P2P element isnt even part of the newly announced service, is similar to a carwash hiring somebody in a bear suit to wave at the kiddies.

Roxio should stock up on good-luck charms, as the Napster name seems to continue to carry a curse—like the new $17 billion lawsuit that a band of music publishers recently slapped on Bertelsmann for its earlier attempt to keep Napster on life support.

That suit, which includes such big-name plaintiffs as rock n roll songwriters Leiber and Stoller, must really have the German media company feeling like a hound dog. El Gato hears that all the companys once-pro-Napster execs have long since left the building. "Me-ouch."

IBM/Tivolis acquisition of Liberty Alliance member Access 360 last October may have really cheesed off Sun, which had been courting the company. According to a Tabby tattler, Sun is hot on the acquisition trail for another identity management company to fill in missing pieces of its Sun ONE initiative.

If you receive a threatening e-mail claiming to be from SpamCop that says its looking for volunteers and financial aid to hack and bring down Hotmail and WorldCom, dont believe it. According to top SpamCop Julian Haight, the e-mail is a hoax.

"SpamCops domain name has been used in a variety of spam—either to lend the spam credibility or to discredit SpamCop," Haight told Spencer.

Latest Rumor Columns:

Latest Kattoons:

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...