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)

News Video Games

Top 10 Stories of 2011: #2 Activision battles for domain

Modern Warfare 3

Activision won rights to the domain in early September, bringing a saga that dragged on for months to a close.

My coverage of the whole affair from beginning to end drew thousands of thousands of page views, along with mentions from nearly every major video gaming news site and blog.

It was Activision’s decision to file a domain dispute over that earned the number two spot in the Top 10 stories of 2011.

The coverage began in January 2011, when I wrote about Activision missing out on several Modern Warfare domain names, including 

In May, information and dates were leaked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to Kotaku

Shortly after the online buzz started, the owner of put up a website and literally gained thousands of fans on Facebook overnight.  Then the website abruptly went offline for days, in what appeared to be a response by the owner to Activision’s lawyers. 

When the site came back online however, the same owner launched a revamped website that lashed out at Activision, in a series of statements and videos, throwing support instead to Call of Duty’s biggest competitor – Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3.

Still, at this point, no one else was covering it.

It was my story on re-directing to EA’s Battlefield 3 website in July that started drawing attention by sites like Kotaku.  The move to forward the domain proved embarrassing for Activision.

What followed were a series of breaking stories that continued to draw massive traffic.

In mid July, Activision officially filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum that I got my hands on. 

After the complaint was filed, Go Daddy removed the privacy service on the domain, revealing the identity of the owner.

In September, Activision triumphed and the domain was ordered transferred.

By October, the domain resolved to

If Activision decides to release a Modern Warfare 4, it may want to handle things a little differently.  As of today, doesn’t belong to Activision.


Top 10 Stories of 2011: #5 Salesforce revealed as $2.6MM buyer

Marc Benioff

The biggest domain sale of 2011, with a price tag of $2.6 million, was 

The domain sold in June and was co-brokered by Marksmen’s Cyntia King and’s John Mauriello.

As to who purchased the domain name remained a mystery, that is until I broke the story that the buyer was none other than, the enterprise software company that has paid millions of dollars for domains such as and

Number five in the Top 10 stories of 2011 here on Fusible, with nearly two hundred tweets, was revealing as the buyer of in September.  

The story also exposed a flaw within Network Solutions’ password retrieval system, which has yet to be fixed.

Though some doubted whether was the buyer after my story ran, Marc Benioff confirmed publicly at’s Cloudforce New York in late November that he did buy, saying “We don’t have a product for it yet – it’s just a placeholder.”


Top 10 Stories of 2011: #6 Speculating on the next Kindle to be released by Amazon


When Amazon began slashing prices on its refurbished Kindle 3 models, tech sites began speculating that Amazon would release a new Kindle.  That’s when I started paying more attention to Kindle related domain names, as I quickly found out readers eat this type of news up.

My first big story days after speculation started in August, was Amazon acquiring via MarkMonitor after the domain name had expired.  Engadget, PC Magazine and other tech sites ran with the story as well.

But it wasn’t this story that made the Top 10 in 2011…

The number six story in the Top 10 Stories of 2011 here on Fusible was predicting that Amazon’s next Kindle would be named after one of the elements.  And my prediction was right, as Amazon finally settled on the element of fire with its Kindle Fire

Unlike other stories, this one took a little more sleuthing.

As I wrote back then, was the first hint, but I discovered that Amazon had also secretly acquired the domain names on July 6, 2011.  Both were registered at Go Daddy and hidden behind its privacy service Domains by Proxy, but it was simple to reveal Amazon as the owner by using Go Daddy’s public Account Retrieval System, which in June finally addressed other privacy issues with the tool.

While I had correctly guessed the next Kindle would be named after an element, I hadn’t included “Fire” in the list.  Though I considered including it, Amazon hadn’t owned Kindle Fire just yet. 

Many of my top stories over the past six months dealt with what Amazon’s next Kindle might be, but most never panned out.   Names like the Kindle Ice and the Kindle Scribe, which even caught the attention of Time and other publications, have yet to materialize.   

Other stories that grabbed attention included Amazon possibly spinning off its Kindle line into a separate company called Seesaw (which went on to get a Techmeme headline) and even Amazon’s massive buying spree of 500 Kindle and Silk related domains, which hinted that a 3G Kindle Fire would be launched. 

(Image of Kindle Fire and Kindle DX Graphite via


Top 10 Stories of 2011: #7 How to get a Twitter username that is already taken


More people have been warming to Twitter over the past year, but when they go to sign up for an account, they often find the Twitter username they want (much like a domain name) is already taken. 

The number seven story in this year’s Top 10 is How to get a Twitter username, that’s already taken, a story I wrote in June after successfully obtaining @Fusible, a username that was registered by someone else, but never used. 

Many Twitter stories published here have garnered plenty of attention by sites like TechCrunch, such as Twitter winning a dispute for the typo (missing a ‘t’) and Twitter going after (extra ‘t’). 

But the story of how to get a Twitter username to this day still attracts readers, even months after being written.   

Just a couple weeks ago, Jon Mitchell a writer for the popular tech news site ReadWriteWeb, published an article using the steps detailed in my post, and he was able to get the Twitter handle he wanted.  “Thanks to J.B. at Fusible for showing me how this works. I can’t believe it, but it really does!”, wrote Jon.

It’s not a silver bullet, but submitting an Impersonation Claim with Twitter, gives you a much better chance of getting a response, than simply opening a Help ticket with the microblogging site.