baronvoncarson and a few other readers sent in the unconfirmed report that the Russian torrent site TorrentReactor had bought the Russian town of Gar
for $148,000, on the condition that the town rename itself Torrentreactor.net. Torrent Freak notes circumspectly that TorrentReactor has been known in the past for — how best to put this? — publicity stunts and hoaxes. And Torrent Freak at the time of writing had no confirmation from any Russian authority that the purported cash-for-renaming deal is genuine. Here is the announcement on TorrentReactor's site
, which contains this explanation of how Gar was chosen: "We've picked a few thousands of godforsaken places around the world that are close to operating nuclear reactors to make a connection to the name of our company. The list was numbered and a random number was picked by a generator. The number 377 was a lucky one for Gar village. We think it was a good choice since Gar citizens are very kind and generous people."
The whole (purported) transaction is reminiscent of the dot-com boom, when in 1999 the not-yet-launched Half.com offered $100,000 to a small town
, Halfway, Oregon
, if it would rename itself for the company. It did. The record is vague as to whether the money was ever actually paid, as Half.com was acquired by eBay just over a year later.