Journal

Domain name graveyard

May 30, 2006

Do you own more than one domain name? Of these domain names, how many are in use today as functioning websites or applications?

At last count I personally owned 11 domains, excluding all customer or work-related stuff. Five are actually online and available to use, while the others are in various states of disrepair.

  • greenroomcreative.ca is my longest-running. It was the foundation of my now defunct freelance web design business. Five years after it started, the domain now re-directs to subvert.ca
  • functionflow.com was again from my days as a designer, this time of web application interfaces. Eight months later, completely abandoned
  • clevertheory.com was an attempt at presenting my bevy of domain names as its own network. Three months later, dead
  • calboom.com was a simple meeting scheduler web application that I started to build, then abandoned. There was no competition when I began writing code, but after more than a year of delays, the market was full of similarly styled apps. I gave up before I even hit 20% done
  • carvenation.com was to be a website for alpine snowboard carving news, reviews and discussion. One year later, with nary an image or line of text intact, it was buried

My domain registrar account is a certifiable graveyard for domain names. The place where URIs go to die. Many of these domains are side-projects. Projects that were destined for certain greatness.

The web makes it ridiculously easy to start a half-brained endeavor. It also makes it outrageously difficult to do something about it. Making websites is hard work. Web applications are more than triple that effort.

Conversely, a domain is cheap: I pay about $12.00 and hosting is free if you manage your own server, so hopping in presents little risk. Most of the time it also translates to no business model or reason for existence past the initial configuration.

I bring this up because the other day I was posting a comment on somebody's blog and I didn't know what domain name to use as my URI in the required profile.It was a design and marketing blog, so I should probably use...ohhh.

At this point I realized there was a problem.

Domain names take a long time to go away. You're automatically locked into 365 days of servitude once you press the Register this domain button. That's a lengthy period of waiting, wondering, planning and pondering, all of which becomes guilt and shame if the project goes nowhere. They just look up at you with these big puppy dog eyes and ask why, Geof, why?

I'm taking steps to change. Domain names are expiring all around me. I'm letting them go after a brief hug and well-wishes for a better place to call home.