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?

Domain name rant update

A few days ago I posted my views that domain names are too cheap. Here’s an article from Mashable which is also bemoaning the ease and prevalence of domain squatting out there.

While doing some research on various Wikis out there, I’ve found that a company called the Information Superbrand (check out the whois info here) registered the domain www.pedia.com, as well as over two hundred various ****pedia.com domain names, such as travelpedia.com or tvpedia.com. In some cases, a domain wasn’t available so they just used subdomains, for example parent.pedia.com.

Mashable doesn’t offer any viable solutions beyond “I think it sucks” and “it strikes me as wrong.” The comment string similarly doesn’t offer any analysis beyond indignation at the problem.

Wise up suckers. The only way anything will get done with this domain mess is if they become too expensive to register.