Top 10 Stories of 2011: #1 New Microsoft social networking service discovered

Tulalip on

The absolute biggest story of 2011 here on Fusible was the discovery of Microsoft’s new social network, which is now officially called (pronounced “social”).

The article racked up some nice social media statistics for a smaller tech news blog: over 600 tweets, nearly 500 Facebook Likes, and over 60 Inshares.  Most importantly, it became a Techmeme headline and landed for a short time in the Techmeme Top 50. 

A flood of news stories hit the net within hours of my discovery and Fusible had a mention in nearly every major technology news publication ranging from TechCrunch to Mashable and PC Magazine to MSNBC.  

When I first came across the site on the web address, I was doing some domain sales research for a story on, which ended up being number five in the Top 10 stories of 2011 after I revealed that was the buyer of the highest publicly reported sale of a domain for the year at $2.6 million. 

I was immediately struck by the landing page, because Microsoft had not officially announced any plans to launch a new social network, yet here was a site going by the name Tulalip that was owned by Microsoft.  I took a screenshot (as shown in the picture above), and it was lucky I did. Shortly after my story went viral, Microsoft took the site down and posted a message stating, “Thanks for stopping by. is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.”

In November, The Verge got an exclusive first look at the service, which was only available to a very limited audience. 

In December, I made Techmeme’s headlines once again, after I discovered you could try to access the private beta of the service, by visiting the domain hack, which Microsoft now uses as the official name.  

It was quite a year for Fusible.

In terms of traffic to the site, there was over 350,000 visits and over half a million page views.

–Web statistics provided by Google Analytics Dashboard Report (.PDF)


Microsoft using domain hack for private beta of its new social network


If you have been hoping to catch a glimpse of Microsoft’s new social network, called Socl, you won’t have any luck with the web address  The service, which is in private beta, is currently only available to a very limited audience.  

The domain, which I first discovered back in July was being used by Microsoft for its secret social network, hasn’t resolved to a web site since November, when The Verge published its online exclusive of the service.  

While you won’t see anything yet at, if you want to try your luck at trying to access the private beta, you can visit the domain hack  

Microsoft has taken the Chile country code domain <.cl> to make an already short web address <>, into an even shorter address <>. 

It’s possible the address will be used by Microsoft as a URL shortener for its new social service, or perhaps, a shortcut for people who find, one too many keystrokes.

I discovered the domain hack by chance. 

I had been receiving mysterious web traffic from days before The Verge story went online.  Over the last few weeks, the login page offered no clues, that is, until today, when I checked the URL it redirected me to (screen shot).

Surprisingly, Microsoft has owned the domain hack since 2009, according to WHOIS records.  It has owned since July 2011.

With the new redirect, it appears Microsoft may be closer to making Socl available to a wider audience.

Discussion:  Techmeme, SlashGear, Marketing Land,, Bitelia and Microsoft News

(Image of Microsoft’s Socl courtesy of The Verge)


Microsoft acquires from same broker as


Could Microsoft be planning to launch its own social networking service to compete with Facebook and the new Google Plus?

What’s definitely not speculation is that Microsoft has acquired the four-letter domain name  Today, the Whois record revealed Microsoft Corporation as the new owner.

On July 2, I wrote about Marksmen the IP and brand protection company, who made headlines in June after co-brokering the sale of for $2.6 million.  In the article I wrote about how Marksmen had acquired the domain name just days after the deal was announced.

I speculated Marksmen may have acquired the domain on behalf of the new owner of (who has yet to be revealed) to use as a URL shortening service.

I did reach out for comment at the time to Marksmen, who replied via email on July 6, “Thanks for the inquiry. We can’t comment on the matter.” moved from Marksmen, then to Corporation Service Company temporarily this week, before the registrant information finally switched over to Microsoft in the last 24 hours. is still registered to an “ADV”, but no further information is provided. 

Because the identity of the buyer of wasn’t disclosed, it’s just rumor about Microsoft owning the $2.6 million name.     

Here’s a look at the Whois record of


Discussion: Search Engine Land


After co-brokering sale of for $2.6 million, Marksmen acquires the domain name

Marksmen's sales division, NameQuiver

Marksmen, the IP and brand protection company, who made headlines in June after co-brokering the sale of for $2.6 million, appears to have just acquired a related domain for one of its clients.

Whois records for the short four-letter domain name,, switched from YummyNames (by Tucows) to Marksmen this week.

 Domain Admin
 PO Box 10038
 Glendale, CA 91209

 Domain name: SOCL.COM

 Administrative Contact:
    Admin, Domain  domainadmin@
    PO Box 10038
    Glendale, CA 91209

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
 Record last updated on 30-Jun-2011.
 Record expires on 20-Oct-2011.
 Record created on 21-Oct-1998.

Being that Marksmen’s sales division, NameQuiver, just co-brokered to an undisclosed buyer, the name could have been acquired for the same client to use as an URL shortening service.

I’ve contacted Marksmen for further information and will update this post when I can.