Dave Winer has a good comment for anyone questioning the web:
So when they tell you they know for sure that the web is dead, or that everyone wants to host their blogs in locked-up silos, or that you can’t build a great open social net on RSS, you might want to lower your glasses down your nose and look out over the top and ask Reallly? Are you sure?? ;-)
Nothing is certain in business. For every success, there are many “sure thing” failures.
I posed a question on this week’s Core Intuition as we were talking about Automattic’s upcoming .blog domain name registration. The gist of it was: what is more likely to survive for the next 50 years, Twitter or .blog? Twitter is huge, dominating the news and seemingly unstoppable, but social networks don’t have a great track record. I’d put my money on a new top-level domain, both because of the vision of empowering users to control their own content and also because domains were designed to last.
Companies aren’t exactly designed to fail. But that is their default outcome.
Just noticed this blog post from Fabian Steeg on the value of personal domain names:
So the mere decision to use a custom domain for my blog many years ago made it independent of the actual hosting location (wordpress.com or self-hosted) and publishing system (wordpress or my own software). In a way I’ve been referencing a system for years that I only now created. Your own domain and URLs really give you a lot of control over your content, even if that content is actually stored elsewhere for years.
Strongly agree with this. Having your own domain will future-proof everything you publish.
Not long after I launched Tweetmarks in 2011, I realized that there was a trademark for that name, and an existing .com domain. I started worrying about the conflict so much that I couldn’t get any real work done. I talked to friends about it, tried to get other perspectives, and then finally renamed it to Tweet Marker. Whew, I had made a decision and moved on, free from ever worrying about it again.
I had to fix the tweetmarks.net redirect recently and checked around on some of the old stuff. That domain name I had been so worried about, which I literally lost sleep over? It’s gone.
I’m not going to tell you that trademarks don’t matter. Nothing I write on this blog should ever be considered legal advice. But it’s another reminder that there’s enough real stuff to focus on without wasting time on imaginary problems.
I like this idea from Dan Gillmor, encouraging each of his students to register a domain name:
“Of course, the students and most of their parents have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr and all sorts of other places. The value of conversation and sharing in general is enormous, and these services offer great convenience. But to cede our online presences – in a way, our very identities – to these entities strikes me as a mistake.”
Using Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn exclusively for your content is like an artist who picks their own colors but still stays within the lines of a paint-by-numbers kit. A domain name is your own canvas. The simple act of saying “I own this” makes all the difference for the scope of what you can create.
After I “blogged last month”:http://www.manton.org/2007/01/i_hate_domains.html about the very small number of domain names I own, I got some good feedback from people I respect. They basically said: “You’re an idiot. Domain names are cheap.”
And the more I thought about it, the more they were right. So last week I made an offer to buy the wiitransfer.com domain from its current owner, and after just about 48 hours I had the domain and was updating Wii Transfer to use it. Now all registered users can use the simpler bookmark URL wiitransfer.com/username to point to their shared music.
I’m also finally rolling out a bug fix update tonight (version 2.2.1, “available here”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/). The most important change is that some MP3s that would not play will now work. Some customers never saw this, but for some people a large percentage of their music library was unusable. It turned out to be that certain kinds of embedded cover album artwork in the MP3 would break the Flash player on the Wii. The work-around I used is to load the MP3 into memory and clear all its ID3 tags before sending it over the wire.
It feels good to be working on Wii Transfer again. The next version is already underway and should make a lot of people happy.