Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Tr.im Is Back, but for How Long? Try “Two or Three Months.”

clint-escapesThere’s a small but raucous celebration breaking out in the geekier corners of the Internet right now because Tr.im, the Web address shortener headed for death row, has had a stay of execution. But don’t get too excited: Tr.im’s owner tells me he’s keeping it alive in order to sell the service–but says he has no interested buyers.

So, “the idea is that in two or three months, if nothing’s changed, we’ll have to revisit the decision,” says Eric Woodward, CEO of tr.im’s parent company, Nambu Networks.

That’s substantially less expansive than the language Woodward used in his blog post today, where he said “Nambu will keep tr.im operating going forward, indefinitely.” But it makes sense.

That’s because over the last couple of days, both on the Web and in conversations with me, Woodward has repeatedly explained why he can’t make a business out of Nambu. (In short, he says that Twitter has killed all competition by blessing rival address shortener bit.ly; the bit.ly guys, for their part, insist that their Twitter deal has been just a small part of their success.)

He’s also said that he’s been unable to find an “acceptable” buyer for the site up to now–though bit.ly itself has made an offer that he deemed to low–and that during the hubbub of the last day or so, that hasn’t changed. “The interest that we’re getting is overwhelmingly from people who want to hijack the links,” he says.

Maybe there’s a buyer who sees value where both Woodward and his rejected suitors don’t. And obviously, if you’re trying to sell a business, it’s better to keep it running than to announce you’re shutting it down. But if you’ve already declared it dead once, reviving it is going to be a very tough task.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus