The NOWs That Never Were

1208196632Tomorrow would have been BostonNow‘s one-year anniversary, which, considering the paper’s once-great ambitions, is a rather embarrassing milestone. Boston wasn’t supposed to be this paper’s final destination; the city was just a launching pad for the Now brand to perfect its craft, and then spread out to nine other cities.

At least, that was the plan that CEO Russel Pergament was touting when BostonNow‘s first issues littered the streets on April 17, 2007. He would never say what cities they were, but Internet-savvy stalkers will soon be able to piece together the company’s grand, failed plan.

Here’s how:

BostonNow purchased domain names for its future properties (PortlandNow.com, say, if it planned to move to Portland). Pergament would never confirm which domains he bought, but curiously, many domain names in that format have been purchased by owners who are hiding their identities—and many are masked in the same way.

Go ahead and search. SeattleNow.com, OrlandoNow.com, DetroitNow.com, StLouisNow.com, NewOrleansNow.com, MemphisNow.com and HoustonNow.com were all purchased, and the same company, Moniker Online Services, is masking the owner identity. PortlandNow.com, AustinNow.com, PittsburghNow.com and DCNow.com all have owners masked by a different company.

It’s entirely possible, of course, that these domains aren’t owned by Pergament & Co. But we may soon know for sure. According to someone on BostonNow.com who identified himself as the paper’s “Interactive Media Editor,” BostonNow.com will be sold soon.

“I don’t know the exact details,” he wrote in the comments section of the paper’s farewell, “but the domain name will be sold and the servers will as well.”

It’s fair to assume, then, that the company will also be selling all the other domain names it purchased. And when a rash of domain names with names like BostonNow.com change hands soon, to follow the action, all you have to do is occasionally search for their registration details.

The “Interactive Media Editor” also wrote that Gatehouse Media, the owner of many community newspapers in Massachusetts, will be hosting BostonNow’s gaggle of bloggers. “We have been contacted by Gatehouse media with an offer to host for our bloggers for the time being. No money is exchanging hands, just a good faith offer,” he wrote.

No surprise that Gatehouse isn’t paying for the bloggers, given the quality of the blog posts that ran in BostonNow. Calls placed to Gatehouse this afternoon were not returned.