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?


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2 responses to “On owning your .com domain name”

  1. You raise a great point, and one I would not have agreed with six months ago. Since I started my new job in November I’ve been realizing how much better anyone’s page can rank if they’re associated with a big name. The page http://www.gabe.com will rank nowhere, whereas http://www.google.com/gabe will be among the top results, with no need for any advertising on my part. Maybe you’re right, and owning your own domain name is sooo last year…

  2. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Gabe.

    Here’s an old post that shows up some interesting ways people use Google: http://maxbley.typepad.com/maxs_blog/2006/12/google_is_not_r.html

    In the olden days I remember if I wanted to find a company I would type “www.companyname.com” into the address bar and see what came up.

    Nowadays I, like almost everyone else on the planet, writes the company name into the Google search box – which for your convenience is right next to the address bar on browsers these days.

    So as long as Google knows where you are … does it really matter what your domain name actually is?

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