I'm so glad you posted this! As a web designer, I've always had web identity issues for this very reason - my professional portfolio is dependent on having a web presence. Of course, my full name and all normal variations were taken when I built my first online portfolio. I learned to live with what I had, akeenedesign, but I checked today after about a year of not looking, my full name was finally available! I purchased it for 5 years $60 well spent, in my opinion.
So, I haven't been worried about this from a writing perspective, but now I have my full name .com and I'm excited. Thank you!
If I were you, I would find a .com name. As a web designer, I know it's far too difficult to deal with the variations of .edu, .org, .eu etc.
And keep checking. You never know when your name will be available!
Another thing is that sometimes a domain name is registered but you can buy it off someone, or if there is not really a website there for a certain amount of time, I think that you can buy it. There are all kinds of weird things... I think there is actually some sort of law saying that if the website is your name, and the other person does not have much to do with that name other than he likes it or something, you can get the domain from him. I have no idea if that is really true or not, but it might be worth checking out, at least some day.
LOL sorry if I only added confusion with this reply. I know just enough about this to sound ignorant
There is no law about who owns names, domains or otherwise. IF there were, everyone would be in trouble, as there are very few unique names. You can try filing a claim with ICANN or in civil court but most of the time it's a waste of effort, unless you're someone as big as McDonalds or Microsoft. If you're using a domain to fraudulently misdirect traffic, then ICANN might take it away from you and give it to the plaintiff. Otherwise... whoever has the deepest pockets wins, almost every time.
Domain squatters pay very little (in bulk, brokered domains are only about a buck apiece) and can make a killing when they sell 'em. Prices are anywhere from $50 to over a million bucks, depending on predicted traffic (or traffic determined by "domain tasting"), tho the average seems to be around a grand for minor domains. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the expiration date, and if the desired domain is not renewed, grab it -- IMMEDIATELY. I got one of my domains that way -- tho it took 3 or 4 years of watching the renewal cycle before the squatter gave up on it and let it go (or went out of business, more likely).
Don't pay for one of the "we'll grab it for you if it expires" scams... funny how those are mostly run by the registrars who have a huge clientele of domain squatters. (Or who do their own squatting, like one I could name... where if you queried a domain but didn't immediately register it, it would magically be squatted a few hours later. Do NOT query a domain unless you mean to buy it RIGHT NOW if it's available.)
Browsers default to .COM (as do users' brains) so there's really little point in owning .NET and .ORG other than to prevent squatters or scammers from grabbing 'em, or as an email domain that will attract less spam.
The country-specific TLDs (.ME etc.) are even worse -- no one searching for your domain will ever find it, even if they know the base name. The .COM default WILL come up first in every search, unless the site is already VERY high traffic or you're already VERY well known.
.INFO is almost entirely the realm of scammers, and is best avoided (that also applies to a lot of the country-specific codes for very minor nations like .ME and .CX) .US is real marginal, used almost entirely for personal domains because you can get it for a buck a year. But again, nothing defaults to .US, making it hard to find in the internet's default-oriented world. No one will find you unless they already know your name.
So... As a general rule, you use anything other than .COM to *avoid* notice, NOT to attract it.
In short, if you really want people to be able to find your domain -- find something in a .COM, and forget the rest.
I grabbed my name for dot-com, dot-org, and dot-net a few years ago---after somebody brought the issue up here. Fortunately, my last name isn't too common (I'm probably related to everyone in the USA who has it).
The site I maintain at www-dot-robertnowall-dot-com is, essentially, me squatting on the name---plus putting up a few busted stories to put up something for people to see besides Internet Fan Fiction...
Several countries, including Montenegro, deliberately capitalize on the fact that their domain extension is meaningful. I've got a .me domain, which I use for my personal URL-shortening service (like bit.ly and tinyurl.com, but using ejs.me.)
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You could do what I did... develop a pen name that is available and register that. www.donavandarius.com is my acting/writing website under my pen/stage name.
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.me seems silly if it's your only presence. EJS's one is the only use case I can think of that would make sense (and then it sounds like he uses it redundantly with other stuff, a simple way to shorten/point people. Might look into it for that reason since my author name includes my middle initial.)
Have you tried using the word writes, fiction, author, books, etc. in your domainname searches to find something? Nobody has problems figuring out what "Kriswrites.com" is when Kristine Kathryn Rusch gives out her URL.
So long as the URL itself is memorable, and then you create your own personal branding/provide your author name front and center (to confirm that people reached the place you intended them to reach by using your "Axewrites.com" domain name or what have you) then people will be satisfied.
quote:I learned to live with what I had, akeenedesign, but I checked today after about a year of not looking, my full name was finally available! I purchased it for 5 years $60 well spent, in my opinion.
Pardon my ignorance, but will you please tell me how to buy a .com? My name is currently available, or at least it doesnít currently link to anywhere. Iíd love to emulate you and $60/5yrs seems like a deal, but I donít know where to go.
quote: Pardon my ignorance, but will you please tell me how to buy a .com? My name is currently available, or at least it doesnít currently link to anywhere. Iíd love to emulate you and $60/5yrs seems like a deal, but I donít know where to go.
It's relatively easy Go to http://www.godaddy.com - WATCH OUT, they love to try to sell you extras. JUST pay for your domain to start with. Even as a web designer who knows her way around, I kept having to ask "wait, should I get this extra?" because of how they try to sell them as "needs" but every time it was "no, I don't need this." So don't buy more! Just get the domain name.
I moved all my domains away from GoDaddy because they pull some very questionable crap, including holding domains hostage (and requiring a high fee to buy them back) on some very thin pretexts. Most people don't have problems with 'em but be careful about the annual payment being made before the due date; don't trust the auto-renewal to work.
If your lastname.com domain name is taken, then the owner may be willing to sub-domain it, for a fee. The web address would then be something like: http://firstname.lastname.com.
This isn't ideal; your presence is precariously in the hands of someone else, but it is an option.
My lastname happens to be the name of a publishing company, so I'm out of luck. But I have the .org. I can give my relatives firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses, though. It's fine for my purposes.
To clear up something...the original intent of the .net TLD was for Internet infrastructure use, such as ISPs, communication service companies and the like. The .org TLD was intended for nonprofits, so you should hope *not* to qualify for that. The .orgs are more abused in this sense than the .nets.
Trying to connect to a website for your prospective domain name is not authoritative. If a web site exists, you're out of luck; but if it doesn't, that is only a weak indicator. Only about 20% or less of the registered domain names have a web site. Many languish in someone's inventory, unused. (I've got several like that.)
There are some sites like betterwhois.com that will do a more authoritative (free) search for you; they check all or most of the registrars for the TLD. On the dark side of this, some registrars and search sites have been known to snag good domains searched for by their users. Some registrars say they do this to 'protect' their clients. The search-only sites have no excuse for this. I have no opinion about any that I did or did not mention. IMHO, I wouldn't search for a domain name unless I was ready to snag it immediately.