Startup Time Machine // The Launch – Part III

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Everything is ready, without much resources available I’ve decided to launch the website. I connected up my desktop to my internet cable connection at home and pushed the button to go live without really knowing what to expect. The site was available at www.everywhere-msn.com.

But the site was a huge success for much of my surprise! After the first week I couldn’t use my internet connection at home, I really needed to find an alternative.
Dedicated servers were too expensive for my budget so I went for the cheapest possible option for Java Web Applications, a Virtual Private Servers.
Virtualization was still in its infancy but some solutions were already available and much cheaper than dedicated servers so I thought that it could be a nice temporary solution until I find a better way to host the application.

At least now I could use my internet connection at home again and get some work done. It was all going fine until I’ve received a letter in my mailbox after a couple of weeks.
It was from a lawyer firm representing Microsoft and the letter said that I was breaking the law. MSN is a registered trademark and I couldn’t use it in my domain. What a huge blow! I didn’t really know what to do, for a couple of days, I was really paranoid always looking over my shoulders looking for men in black with dark sunglasses following me.
Until that day I had never really thought about the legal aspects of what I was doing. Reverse engineering the MSN Protocol didn’t seem harmful to me, in the end, I was just providing alternative access to their network. But after receiving that letter I started questioning if what I was doing was right or not. But people were using the site like crazy, there was really an audience for this application, I didn’t know where they came from but that wasn’t the point.
In the end, all turned out OK. All I needed was to find another domain and they were happy with it, I think that back then Microsoft didn’t really understand what the application was all about, all they wanted was that I would not use a domain with “MSN” in it!

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