My New Gig

I’ve recently started at Rated People as their Technology Director.

I find the company fascinating for a bunch of reasons:

  1. They are a marketplace that allows people to find tradesmen very easily. It’s shocking how easy for the user it is, in fact – and I speak as someone who has used the service as a user. The model is pretty similar to MFG.com – regular readers will know I’m a fan.
  2. But even better than the traditional online marketplace idea, Rated People is more like a dating agency. I don’t go on the site and choose from hundreds of plumbers. The system chooses the best plumbers for me based on my location, budget etc.
  3. The upshot of all of this is that the ratings system on Rated People is the best I’ve come across. It is the hardest to fake. Amazon’s ratings are useless – as a manufacturer I could easily hire plenty of people to post positive reviews of my goods. Even on MFG.com I could register myself as a supplier, create a number of fake buyer accounts, award myself some contracts and give myself a great rating. On Rated People you can’t just do this.
  4. It’s still sourcing!

On a “small world” note, I was out with one of the guys last night and found out that he once used to be a buyer at Brakes where he used to run their reverse auctions and was involved in the early incarnations of Trade Interchange.

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On owning your .com domain name

Received wisdom on the web is that if you are running a business you should own the .com domain name or else you are doomed to being an also-ran.

So I was surprised to read The Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine’s (8th March 2009 – yes it was a slow Sunday) article on “the great eccentrics of world fashion”. Some are listed alongside URLs:

Susie Bubble of http://stylebubble.typepad.com
Tavi Gevinson of http://tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot.com
Diana Pernet of http://ashadedviewonfashion.com
Yvan Rodic of http://facehunter.blogspot.com

Out of these four, only one runs the .com domain of their online presence. The others are content to let blogspot and typepad do the heavy lifting and are evidently happy to be associated with those domains.

And given that 99% of first time visitors to your location will get there by typing in the name  (e.g. facehunter) into Mr Google’s Guidebook, the .com-ness or not of the domain name becomes less relevant.

Google search for "facehunter"
Google search for “facehunter”

Not surprisingly, as with pretty much any .com name made up of two arbitrary words, facehunter.com is apparently owned by a domain squatting organisation. I presume this to be the case because (a) facehunter.com is just a list of links to adverts and (b) I’m struggling to see what other reason Rough Media can have for registering 2,000+ domains.

Google is wise to this: if you even do a search for “facehunter.com” you still get links to the “real” facehunter at http://facehunter.blogspot.com rather than the squatted domain.

Google search for "facehunter.com"
Google search for “facehunter.com”

Where is the benefit, these days, of having http://www.myname.com over http://myname.wordpress.com or  even http://www.twitter.com/myname? How long before having your own .com domain starts feeling rather stuffy, quaint and old-fashioned?