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Friday, July 13, 2012

ICANN't bring myself to buy a domain name (yet)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICANN
Godaddy.com seems to have plenty of detractors

With apologies for the unintentional hiatus I've returned to ramble, hopefully not too incoherently, about a topic to which I've given brief bursts of intensive thought over many years: domain names.

For my day to day job, I consider things like how valuable the gTLDs (generic top level domain - such as .net, .info, .org, and the ccTLD values - ISO compliant two letter country codes) happen to be for my clients' web sites. Of course, since they've relaxed the rules on new gTLDs (at a price of $185K USD a pop, much to many people's chagrin, as ranted about by asmartbear - and his commenters - from a year ago), there will be even more to consider for future site analyses.

In the context of maintaining (if intermittently) this blog, I'd read many articles and posts encouraging everyone to purchase their own domain, as the *.blogspot.com address "seems unprofessional" and could adversely affect one's web cred.

And personally, it may surprise my readers that while I own a permanent forwarding web (and email) address by my alma mater, I have yet to purchase any personalized domains, despite having maintained a sequence of web sites that dated back to early 1994, which consisted of a handful of hand-coded HTML (v 1.0) pages.

What resurrected this topic to me this year, was Google's February-March roll out of automatic Blogger redirects to the ccTLDs from the .com gTLD. As a Blogger member I don't recall having received any forewarning of this, save the fact that my traffic source stats abruptly started to include the original *.com URL, which I'd registered on numerous directories, as the referrer address. 

Hopefully my new JavaScript addition (which forces the /ncr sub directory to be included in the server request, thereby stopping the redirects) that was courtesy of this blog entry has put a stop to this, but for a few weeks at least if not months, Google has been using the 302 type HTTP server request, i.e. a temporary redirect, to take my non-US based visitors to the appropriate ccTLD version of my original blog address. 

I have two concerns with Google's implementation decision of these redirects. First, should this request not be the 303 type (see other), despite the extensive misuse of 302? Second, these 302 type redirects presumably prevent the transfer of any link juice to any of the proliferation of new URLs they have created for these sites - not just the landing page, but each of the posts.

Having just double-checked, each Blogger-generated page does indeed automatically provide a populated canonical link element (I would have added them myself were this not the case). This should prevent duplicate content from being indexed from the alternate URLs that have been created in the interim.

So, why not buy a personal domain, one may ask. I've been price shopping, so I'm not ruling out the eventual purchase of one. However, one thing appalled me enough to discover the anti domain name registration service site that I've linked to my borrowed graphic above: it was the pricing structure. Drawn to them by their partnership with Google and its objectively low first year price for a .org address, I discovered upon going through the purchasing wizard, that they offered this pricing structure, rounded to the nearest US dollar:

1 year: 7USD (base price on sale, no frills, just the ICANN fee added)
2 years: 15USD (bringing the cost each year to 7.5USD)
3 years: 25USD (topping 8USD a year)
5 years: 75 USD (15 USD/year)
10 years: 162 USD (so, over 16USD a year)

Anyone capable of performing basic arithmetic would realize that, rather than reducing the annual cost as one might expect for a longer-term contract, they have increased the annual price to more than double the initial price for the 10 year subscription (and probably about 60% more than the non-promotional price) as compared with just a one year purchase. As I doubt that anything related to my full name is unlikely to generate much competition, I'm seriously considering purchasing it for a year at a time and renewing. 

Since then, I've learned that this particular company actually supported SOPA, so despite the ease of using them, I doubt I'll be registering anything through them, anytime soon. The search continues...

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.