There was a review in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, so I did something I’ve only done once before in my life and bought it.
I knew it didn’t bode well when they managed to misspell my name not once but twice in the piece (in fact it’s not spelt right anywhere). Once of the first rules of journalism is to make absolutely sure you get the correct spelling of someone’s name, because it’s the one thing that most irritates people – that and their age being wrong. So despite the book having “Kieren McCarthy” in bold letters on the front of the book, it turns out that the Sunday Telegraph believes one “Kieran McCarthy” wrote it, while the reviewer is convinced someone called “Keiren McCarthy” was behind it.
What’s more, the Telegraph website is down at the moment so I can’t link to the review. Perhaps divine justice.
I had my book launch on Tuesday at Bar Detroit in Covent Garden. Terrific stuff. Lots of old friends, my publishers (several of the Quercus team pictured above), and my family. Gary Kremen was there and signed various books and generally entertained people. I did that weird thing where you speak to nearly everyone but only for a very sorry time each. I also didn’t eat anything, so I have lost the last half-hour or so of the evening and felt pretty rough the next day, but there you go – if you can’t do that at your book launch, when can you?
Anyway, there are a series of reviews out. And I’ve done a number of interviews so I thought I should quickly stick up links to them while I have a minute. Guy Kewney wrote one for his NewsWireless site, which The Register has decided to buy off him. Which is good news for me because Guy really enjoyed it. My favourite part: “You think you’re going to read a racy description of the high life of a few wealthy California dotcom millionaires, playing at pornography – but what you end up soaking into your soul, is a deep understanding of the pioneering days of the Internet.” Which was exactly what my intention was. He ends it: “It’s a brilliant bit of writing. Read it if you dare.” God bless him.
This is the article that appeared in The Sunday Times on Sex.com today. As I mentioned earlier, the article appears under my byline but was entirely written by a writer the Times brought in. I’m interested to see what people think of the two versions I wrote and the one that’s appeared. I’ll do a poll, but feel free to stick comments on any of my posts.
I think the broad difference is that I was trying to tell the story, and the final piece has taken the tack about the Internet and domains. Perhaps my versions tried to do too much in a short space and so were too complex for easy comprehension. Anyway, the piece is in, there are a few minor mistakes in it, but then I have just been told it is linked to on the Drudge Report, so that has to be good. I only hope all this translates into people actually reading the book.
Oh, and I should say, Gary Kremen is over from the States for the book launch on Tuesday in Covent Garden. If people want to come along, please do, there’s still space for 30 or so people.
The Times has done a review of Sex.com. Short and sweet:
By Kieren McCarthy
Reviewed by Iain Finlayson
Civil law, not unreasonably regarded as a dry subject, is often rendered relevant by colourful cases. There is no more dramatic cause of dispute than money, unless it is sex — so the battle for the domain name sex.com had it all. The registered owner, Gary Kremen, alleged that Stephen Cohen, a conman and pornographer, had stolen this prime piece of internet real estate from him. McCarthy gives a fast-footed account of the trial and its upshot. “
You should read this blog post before you delve into this piece.
“The Internet? The Internet is for porn!” exclaimed one of the speakers last week [18 May 2007] as the Oxford Union debated the question “This House believes that the Internet is the greatest force for Democratisation in the World”.
Professor John Palfrey of Harvard University was speaking against the motion. And although his point was tongue-in-cheek he accurately reflected an enduring situation with real-world use of the Internet. The Internet is for many things, but one of the biggest is, undoubtedly, porn.
A quarter of all search-engine requests are for pornography, at least a fifth of adults online have accessed a porn site, and there are an estimated 400 million Web pages out there catering for the demand. The adult industry is worth $57 billion worldwide, and the United States –the world centre for pornography – claims $12 billion of it.
To find out what on earth this is all about, please read this blog post.
“In all the years you’ve been chasing me, you have never got a single asset in my name. And you never will.”
That was how Stephen Michael Cohen made it plain to the man sitting opposite him – a man who had been on his trail for over a decade – that he would never admit defeat. The statement was all the more poignant given the fact that Cohen was wearing an orange jumpsuit, standard-issue to inmates at the Santa Clara correction facility. Even though he was in jail, with no date set for release, and the man he was addressing was his best route out of there, Cohen remained defiant.
I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned it but I’ve written this book about an extraordinary battle over the domain name Sex.com, and it was officially out on Monday.
I’ve been trying, naturally enough, to push this fact into the media, and I was delighted when my publisher’s publicity woman Lucy Ramsey told me that the Sunday Times News Review was interested in running a piece on it. I’ve always been a big fan of the New Review section of the Sunday Times. If ever I kept a section of the hugely bulky paper, it was this. And I remember thinking way back in the past that I would love to have a piece in it. Well, I was asked to do a piece for it. It was the worst possible timing of course – I have a huge amount of work on – but I did without sleep for two days and produced an article which I rather liked and sent it.
And the commissioning editor didn’t like it. But she was very pleasant about it and didn’t say “I don’t like it” but offered some other feasible reason. I agreed to rewrite it. So I wrote another version. I like this version too. Anyway, at 8.15pm, I get an email on my Blackberry saying that the piece was ready to go, they had made a few changes, but if I have any problems please call – she’ll be there until 10.30pm. My Blackberry would only show the first four paras or so, but it was clear it has been comprehensively rewritten. I asked her to add whoever had rehashed it to the byline. She said, no it was fine.
I’ve just seen that a review of my Sex.com book has popped up on the New Statesman.
It’s not very long and it’s taken a tack which I was surprised by, but I didn’t think the New Statesman would cover it as it tends to prefer more weighty and political books. Nonetheless, I think I would be intrigued by the review and even consider buying it -so that has to be good. I understand as well that The Times and The Sunday Telegraph will review it this week. And The Register and Techworld should also do reviews soon. And I have a range of interviews lined up next week. Should be fun.
The New Statesman review runs quickly through the story and then this is the opinion of the book: “McCarthy’s account of the court battle for ownership of sex.com is as much a biography of a twisted genius. He paints Cohen as a grotesque bottom-feeder of an individual, who thrives on sex and stolen power. It is hard not to enjoy the story of his downfall, and yet Kremen’s eventual victory is underpinned by the tragedy of Cohen’s mental breakdown.”
So that’s Kieren’s book — “hard not to enjoy” :-)
You can read it here; full review below:
I’ve just been sent this pic by my mate Ross who snapped it with his phone at WHSmith in Heathrow airport. It shows my book resting at number 12 in the Business and Management section. Obviously there’s been some terrible error and the staff has mistakenly put it as “12” rather than both “1” and “2” as was surely intended, but that pleasing, ain’t it?
I have yet to see my book in the real world in a bookstore. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t help but think now of all the times I have scanned the book shelves of the newsagents in Heathrow pondering whether to buy a book or a newspaper – and usually just bought the newspaper. I wonder if each of the books in the paper has seen each author go through the same sort of process/journey/whatever I have. Anyway, with luck, I shall manage to bump up the charts once a few reviews come in (I am assuming of course that reviews *will* come in and that they’ll like it).
Plus, some good news, it looks like Gary Kremen is going to be in town for the book launch on 29 May. So that should be terrific. Again, if anyone wants to come – London, Tues 29 May. You need an invite but just ask.
I have consistently failed to actually post on *my own blog* that the book I’ve spent three years on is finally done, printed and actually available to buy from all good bookstores.
But it is.
And I’ve just seen the first review of it that hasn’t come from my biased family and friends, and that’s from Gavin Brown – who is a rare breed of man who has such technical ability that you can imagine him *seeing* the Internet in the same way that Keanu Reeves sees the Matrix, but is also a friendly and chatty bloke. Gavin told me he’d written a review and I really had no idea whether he would like it or loathe it.
I’m delighted to say he liked it and has written a great review of it on Circle ID.