HITS Daily Double


Changes Name, Charges Money, Offers Poem
Because the domain Napster was already taken, instant message file-swapper Aimster has changed its name to Madster. On the newly named company's homepage, there's even a little poem marking the occasion:
Big companies are lamester
No, you can't call us amester
But if it still works the samester
What's in a namester

The company lost a domain name arbitration hearing to America Online last summer because its name violated AOL's AOL Instant Messenger trademark. AOL now owns the Aimster name.

As if that weren't enough amazing news to get you to jump up from your desk in overwhelming excitement, the company has also added a subscription service that offers better connectivity and recommendations from other subscribers. Club Madster, as it's called, is $4.95 a month. If you sign up now, the second month is free!

The company has been besieged with lawsuits, thanks to its Napster-like file-sharing add-on software to instant messaging programs. In July, both movie studios and a group of music publishers, including Lieber & Stoller and the estate of Rodgers & Hammerstein, filed suit against Madster (nee Aimster) charging copyright violation. Before that, believe it or not, the RIAA filed a similar suit.

And for you total freaks, yes, there's a picture of the "Aimster girl" on Madster.com—ours is here strictly because it's an important part of the story.