Why You Must Own Your Own Domain Name

This is a guest post from Xavier Lanier, publisher of Notebooks.com and a strong believer in getting the right domain name for yourself and your online business.

If you don’t own ‘yourname’.com, stop reading this and head over to your favorite domain registrar and buy it. If you don’t someone else eventually will and may even turn it into a web site dedicated to making fun of you with a naked puppet.

That might sound outlandish, but that’s exactly what’s happened to Shel Israel – a blogging expert, co-author of Naked Conversations and host of a video show over at FastCompany.TV.

Shel is new to the video format, and New York blogger Loren Feldman had some harsh words about the new show. Loren stepped it up his criticism by publishing videos of a naked puppet ‘Shel Israel.’

To make matters worse, Loren registered ShelIsrael.com, which is now home to the videos of the Shel Israel sock puppet. While Shel still needs sponsors for his FastCompany.TV show, ShelIsrael.com and the puppet has a sponsor after a few short days.

I’m not going to pass judgment on the quality of either bloggers’ videos, motives or expertise, but not owning your own domain is really bad move. Even if you don’t plan on using ‘yourname.com’ in the near (or distant) future, owning it is cheap insurance against a debacle like this. If you have some cash to spare or you’re even mildly famous/controversial you should also look into buying the rest of the TLD’s that include your name (.net,.org, etc.).

Understandably, Shel was upset and he’s sounded off on his blog and on twitter about the situation. Shel got really defensive and sounded off on twitter and his blog, but came to this conclusion:

I did investigate the law, and on the surface of it, it appears that Loren is in his legal rights and there is nothing I can do about it, without a major legal effort, which I have neither time nor inclination to pursue. I lose. Loren gets to keep the site. If Loren were a decent sort, could call as you suggest, and ask him to take down the content and turn the site over to me at cost. I doubt that action would be successful.

What comes out of this is probably a victory for GoDaddy and other domain registrants. I imagine there’s a whole lot of people registering their names these days, because now–like me–they understand what malicious people can do.