Tag Archives: Domains

.Blog, .LOL, .Microsoft, .Whatever

If it wasn’t already hard enough to remember the TLD for that website you heard about, it just got harder. You don’t just have .com, .net, and the other usual suspects to worry about anymore.

ICANN has voted on and approved a plan, starting in 2009, to allow anyone with $100,000 and a viable business plan to manage their own unique TLD and allow people to register it through them. Who will be quick enough to get .blog? (Maybe Google. It would go right along with Blogger…) How about .rss?

This opens more possiblities to get a short, logical domain. Wouldn’t it be cool to have http://design.blog/ or http://click.here/?

But there are a few downsides to this though…

  • People already type .com automatically, and have trouble remembering URLs. Having thousands of TLDs will make it worse.
  • It’s a trademark nightmare! Companies already go and register their domain on a wide variety of TLDs so the cybersquatters don’t go and take Microsoft.net or whatever. After securing the major TLDs, you then have Microsoft.computers, Microsoft.wtf…
  • SEO will be more important than ever. You will have to be in the top 3 results in Google if you want anyone to make it to your site. I doubt anyone will remember that your domain is myexamplesite.lolcat.
  • You have to have some really deep pockets if you want to register a new TLD. Few but the monster-sized corporations will be able to afford it. Congratulations ICANN, you’ve just made it easier for Time Warner and AT&T to take over the internet!
  • There’s no way .com is going anywhere any time soon…

I assume ICANN just did this to line their pockets, and didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it. Everyone on the board who voted for it saw the big $100,000 and thought “and I’ll get a cut of the profit…”

Why Not to Use Blogger or WordPress.com

If you’re serious about blogging, I strongly advise you to avoid using Blogger, WordPress.com, or *shudder*, LiveJournal. The first thing you should do when you start a blog is get a domain name. At $7-$10 per year, it’s not going to empty your bank account, and it will be a good investment. (Not to mention that people will take you much more seriously if you have your own domain) You could point your domain pretty much anywhere. You could use it with your Blog*Spot or WordPress.com blog, but I would advise against it. While Blogger and WordPress.com are most likely the two best “free blog services” available, they’re limiting in terms of what you can do.

If you pay for a cheap shared hosting account (1and1 has a $3.99/mo plan, which is good for a beginning blog), and install a copy of the free WordPress blogging software (that’s WordPress.ORG, not .com!), you gain much.

By hosting your blog yourself, instead of relying on a free service, you gain the ability to customize your design in ways impossible with the free services, to use WordPress plugins, run your own ads, and you’re not dependent on the service. If WordPress.com decided to charge a subscription fee instead of providing the free service they’ve provided, you’d have to pay or abandon your blog, pretty much. What if they changed something about their service, and you didn’t like it? (An example would be adding a big, forced banner ad to the top of your blog.)

If you’re using a free blog service, you can still make the switch to a self-hosted blog. WordPress has the ability to import posts from Blogger, WordPress.com, LiveJournal, and a few others (including RSS). However, you can lose some data in the transition. Depending on which service you use, you may or may not be able to keep the comments on your posts, for example.

Free blog services are great for personal blogs, and experimenting with blogging before deciding to commit to it, but if you want to run a serious blog, I highly recommend going with a self-hosted WordPress installation. At the very least, if you have a tight budget, get a domain and point it to your free blog. That way, if you decide to go the WordPress route, you will be able to move and keep your readers and backlinks.

Rank Your Domain

How good is your domain? Take the test and find out!

How Short is the Domain?

Give yourself one point if it’s 16 characters or less (excluding the TLD), two points if it’s 10 characters or less, and three if it’s under 7 characters.

Got .Com?

If your domain has a .com TLD, you score another point.

Is it Brandable?

Does your domain sound like a brand name, like Yahoo or Toyota, or is it an unwieldy mess like “ExpertWebProDesignServices.com”? Take three points if you’ve got a brandable domain.

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DNS Pinger

DNS updates are a pain. They test your patience as you wait “up to 72 hours for your changes to propagate,” and often you need to know when it’s done. If you’ve ever moved from one web host to another, you know how tricky it is to make the transition seamless. You have to get the site working on the new server, put the active copy of the site into maintenance mode, then update your DNS settings, and hope everything works out fine.

In case something goes awry, it’s a good idea to be there, ready, when it happens. That’s where DNS Pinger comes in. Just enter your domain name, along with your email address, and the service will automatically ping your site every three minutes. You will receive an email alerting you the minute the DNS update is complete.

Killer Domains: A Guide to Finding a Great Domain

Daniel Scocco of DailyBlogTips.com recently authored an ebook called Killer Domains. I read it recently, and it was pretty good. It teaches you what goes into a good domain name, then walks you through brainstorming domain ideas. Also included are lists of prefixes and suffixes to try tacking on to a keyword, in an effort to get a short and memorable domain, and a collection of resources that come in handy when researching and registering domains.

As the ebook states, all of the three and four-letter domains have already been registered, and the five-letter ones are being taken pretty fast. (Lucky for me, I managed to get a good 5-letter domain…) While it may be tempting to run out and register a short domain like qqzkr.com, don’t do it. Find a domain that fits Daniel’s “7 Characteristics Of Good Domain Names.” Get a short, brandable domain that people won’t have trouble remembering or spelling.

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Want a Short Domain? Misspell it

Digg, Flickr, Google. What so they have in common? They’re all misspelled. Digg obviously comes from “dig” and Flickr is obviously just “flicker” without the e. Then we have the story of Google. As the legend goes, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were going to call the site Googol, but a fateful typo gave the site its unique and memorable name.

The three sites mentioned above have had great success, despite having domains that aren’t spelled correctly. The key is to be obvious. Make the misspelling noticeable, so people can tell you did it on purpose. By having a domain like this, you can have a short name that people will remember.

Digg is a great example. It’s only four letters, and that extra g really adds something. It’s effortless to remember the extra g, and you find yourself adding the extra letter in when you don’t need it. (I keep typing “digg” instead of “dig” now. Thanks a lot, Kevin Rose! You’ve etched your brand name into my subconscious.)

AJAX Whois

AJAX WhoisI recently stumbled across AJAX Whois, which may have become my new favorite way to find domains and check WhoIs info. It’s fast, and it’s easy to use.

I’m serious when I say AJAX Whois is fast. Start typing in the form, and the web app searches as you type. By the time you’ve finished typing in a domain, the results are already there.

There are a couple of small features that really make the site easier to use. Number one is the favorites feature. If you find a domain that you want to remember while you’re searching other ones, you can just click the favorite button and it will be added to a space in the sidebar for easy access. The other feature is even simpler, yet you would really miss it if it wasn’t there; You don’t have to enter a TLD when searching. Many whois services require that you enter a TLD, even if you want to see results for multiple TLDs. Luckily AJAX Whois doesn’t follow that trend.

Beware of Domain Scams

Every time one of my domains is up for renewal, I get sent, through “snail mail,” an official-looking “Domain Expiration Notice” from one of several companies I’ve never heard of. The notice looks very much like a bill, in an attempt to persuade people to fill-out the attached form.

The notice says that the domain will be expiring soon, and that it needs to be renewed. If you just scan the paper, it looks like a bill to renew your name. But it’s not. Upon closer inspection, you can tell that it’s a company other than your registrar, and that, by filling out the form, you will transfer your domain to the unscrupulous registrar.

The letter claims that if you don’t renew your domain through them, you will end up paying much “higher renewal prices in the future.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. For a year of service with them, you will be charged $29.00. What real registrar charges that rate? 1and1.com costs you $7/year, and GoDaddy $10. It may have cost $80/year back in the bad old days when Network Solutions was the only registrar on the block, but today, $29.00 is just plain theft.

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Who Needs More Generic TLDs? This is a Better Idea

If I understand this article correctly, ICANN is planning on allowing organizations to apply to create and manage new TLDs. If so, then that’s an interesting idea.

Imagine having a domain with a .blog or .tech extension, or .bowling or .design. Instead of worrying about the lack of .com domains, the generic TLD would become a thing of the past. You could just get a domain with a topical TLD, and have a short, memorable domain without having to spend too much time trying to find something that’s available.

Of course, there are problems with this idea. You would end-up with duplicates, for example. Suppose you had a website about design at example.blog. Other people could have sites at example.design and example.whatever. The cybersquatters would have a lot of fun with that… And then you have the whole issue of people automatically typing “.com” (or not recognizing it as a URL because of the lack of “.com”). Be prepared to use Google a lot more, since you’ll be forgetting sites’ TLDs right and left.

There are plenty of implications going through my mind right now, and I imagine there are a lot more that I haven’t even thought of yet. On one hand I like the idea, but on the other hand…

What do you think? Is it a good idea to ave an infinite number of TLDs, or should ICANN just introduce a new generic TLD once in awhile?

Poll Results: What Type of Domain Do You Have?

Last month, I asked what type of domain you have. Only twelve people voted, which seems rather small compared to some previous polls. Thinking about this, I realized a bit of a problem with the polling service I’ve been using: RSS readers generally don’t display JavaScript. I should probably use WP-Polls, or something of the sort, so the poll will show-up in the feed.

Now, moving-on to the poll results.

17% (2 votes) say they have a keyword-filled domain with a .com TLD (like Webmaster-Source.com).

17% (2 votes) say they have a short, brandable name like Yahoo.com.

17% (2 votes) say they have a Del.icio.us-style domain, making use of country-level TLDs and subdomains to end-up with an easy to remember domain.

17% (2 votes) say they have a misspelled domain, like Flickr.com.

25% (3 votes) say that they have a domain with an alternate TLD, like .net, .org, or .biz.