I am delighted to have the book finally exist having spent
three years researching and writing it.
I've had it for a week, and read chunks of it, but only just read it all
through with fresh eyes, and if I say so myself, it's a pretty good read:
pacy, intriguing, full of great information, and some nice insights.
It's a strange thing but it takes so long to write a book like this i.e.
one that combines both huge amounts of research and a large number of
contemporary interviews, that by the end of it, you're not really sure of
the end result.
I would say that the book is much pacier than I thought it would be. The
plus side of this is that it's a page-turner; the downside that some of the
important detail and careful reflection is very easy to zoom through.
Although in the first review I've seen (written on CircleID, a website
specialising in Internet matters) it was described as "the best book about
the Domain Name system that I've ever read... compelling, well-informed and
I pulled out alot of the legal information (there was a 10-year court
battle at the heart of the fight for Sex.com) and I think that was the
right way to go, although some of that material should be published
somewhere. Maybe I'll just stick it up on my website.
I also note with detached amusement that a chapter on the early explosion
of domain names that I had pulled out temporarily during editing, I had
forgotten to put it back in. It may be better because of it.
So: the pluses. It is a terrific story. It always was. I would have had to
have been an idiot to fail to make an exciting and fascinating book out of
these two people and how they fought with one another during the most
extraordinary period of the dotcom boom, bust and to this day. I went
through four entirely different ways of telling this story and eventually
ended up with this one - a third-person review with a journalistic feel to
The book strikes me as authoritative, even though it is fast-paced. I'm
glad the huge amount of research paid off. It's amusing to read one
sentence and realise it took you three days to find that information.
Sex.com could prove useful as one of the books that will inevitably help
people not involved in the Internet world to understand the history of the
Internet and the remarkable pioneers (and charlatans) that it attracted. It
is not a scholarly book and it was written that way on purpose. I hope the
story will be the method by which people grasp some of the fundamentals of
this extraordinary computer network.
The cons: A slower book would been more interesting from an intellectual
viewpoint. The book is also shorter than it needs to be - I cut it down to
80,000 from 150,000 to make it easily accessible but I can't decide whether
this easy-to-read aspect makes it feel lightweight (you can finish it in a
weekend) or whether it is exactly what is needed to get people that would
never normally read it, to give it a go.
There are a few minor niggles. I have found two factual errors, two
continuity errors and a garbled paragraph. I also wish it had photos in the
middle. I really wanted some in the middle featuring the main actors and
some of the remarkable events.I don't know what else. I'm intrigued to see what people think. I will say
though that the ending, for me, is an absolute winner.