Four reasons you should own your own domain name

It may seem like a novelty or an extravagance, but everyone should own their own domain name -- specifically, whenever possible, one should own one's own name, ending in dot-com. There are many fine reasons, but four stand out above the rest:

#1: There is no better way to secure your online reputation in a single step
Nobody should doubt that the importance of one's online reputation grows every day. The breadcrumb trail you leave behind on the Internet simply by taking up space on this planet is greater than most people would imagine -- even if you do nothing at all on the Internet yourself, you'll still almost undoubtedly end up with a presence there. Because that trail you unintentionally (or intentionally) leave behind now influences such important decisions as whether you're considered credit-worthy or whether you're employable, it's important to have as much influence over that reputation as you can grasp. The single easiest way to capture that is by securing your own name as a domain name.

#2: E-mail services may change, but your e-mail address shouldn't
Any decent domain-name service (I like, but there are plenty of decent providers) will allow you to forward e-mail sent to your domain name to your choice of destinations. That means you can set up your own permanent e-mail address on your own domain that will forward to whatever service you want to use -- Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, your Internet service provider, or any combination of destinations you choose. This makes e-mail management easier for you (since you can set up multiple incoming addresses to suit different needs, like financial services, personal messages, and comments you post on public message boards), and it means that nobody will ever have to search for your e-mail address again in the future, just because you changed webmail services.

#3: Everyone has some sort of domicile on the Internet anyway
If you have a Facebook page, then you already have a website of your own. If you have a Flickr account or a YouTube channel, then you already have a website. If you have a LinkedIn account, then you already have a presence. If you keep up a Twitter account, then you already have an address on the Internet. The problem with all of these is that they become your "domiciles" on the Internet -- and they're all owned by somebody else. Sure, you may have rights to your account, but that isn't the same as actually owning your own domain name. The difference is like that between being a renter and being a homeowner. Both give you a place to stay, but only one is really "your" property. Buying a domain name is a way to ensure that your chief domicile on the Internet really belongs to you. There's nothing that says you can't use that domain name to point directly to your Facebook wall or your YouTube channel. But if you're going to invest your time and energy into anything resembling a digital version of yourself, then you really should ensure that you own the digital version of the very name that belongs to you in the real world.

#4: You don't know how much you'll use it until you get it
...then, once you get it, you won't know how you got along before you got it.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Gongol published on March 17, 2011 1:25 AM.

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