I’m getting pretty serious about this whole blogging thing. So much so that, when I spent a few hours at Powell’s Books in downtown Portland earlier in the week, I emerged with a book called Blogging For Fame And Fortune. Now, I don’t honestly expect to get rich or famous here. For one thing, I cringe at the idea of selling ad space – I think that detracts from the “professional” image I’m trying to establish. The truth is, I’m just trying to have fun and hopefully showcase my writing style. It’s one more weapon in my let’s-get-published arsenal. But the book does have tons of good advice on blogging, everything from what to write about to how to market it and which widgets to add. I tore through 100 pages that first day. I’m eating this stuff up.
I’d been thinking about domain names for awhile. WordPress is awesome – easy to use, great features, tons of support – but I’m trying to build a “brand name”, if you will. Mark My Words. It’s catchy, and since my name is Mark, and these are my words, well…it’s pretty much perfect. So I thought, instead of having people find me through https://markp427.wordpress.com, how cool would it be if I owned markmywords.com? So I did a bit of research, located a domain name registrar (godaddy.com – so that’s what they do! I only knew their name from those sexy Super Bowl ads they air every year). I eagerly typed markmywords.com into the search field…only to find that the domain name was already registered. To some guy in Virginia, who’d bought it in 2000 and paid up through 2016. Now, there was no corresponding website, so basically this guy was just sitting on the name. He probably owns countless others. People snatch those things up and then turn around and try to sell them for a profit. If only I’d had a crystal ball and registered something like starbucks.com when the internet was in its infancy. I might be a rich man today.
So, I contacted the guy. There are domain name acquisition services, that typically charge $60-$70 + 10% commission to contact the domain name owners and negotiate a sale for you, but why pay somebody else to do your own dirty work? All that information is public, and contained in what’s called a WhoIs database. I sent Carl a brief, polite e-mail. Said I was just wondering if he might be willing to sell the domain name to me. His response was very to-the-point.
I live in America; everything is for sale, only question is how much. This is pricy, but give it a shot.
Which immediately established Carl as a greedy little bastard. I could go on an anti-Capitalism rant here, but I already have a well-deserved reputation as a liberal, so I’ll abstain. I would consider paying, I don’t know, $100 or so for the domain name, but the guy owns it for another six years and I’m sure his asking price is considerably higher. Plus, I’m unemployed. So, I went back to godaddy.com and searched for alternate names. Good news: markmywords.asia was available! Bad news: dot Asia?! I know I’m a celebrity in Japan, but still. I also could have purchased .co (too confusing, everybody would be looking for the missing “m”); .cc (never heard of it); and .mobi (huh?). None of those appealed to me. Then I saw a suggestion box with other alternate possibilities. mymarkmywords.com, themarkmywords.com, markmywordstoday.com. Most of them were stupid and made no sense. But…wait a minute…there was markmywordssite.com. Hmm – not too bad. Makes sense – it’s the website for markmywords. Definitely keeps the focus on the tagline. It was available for $11.95 a year, so I decided to bite the bullet and snatched it up. I was almost giddy with excitement – I owned my own domain name!!
About 30 seconds later, I realized, I had no idea what to do with it, though. I figured there had to be a way to link my existing WP blog to it, and luckily, there was. It took a few brief steps – changing the “nameservers” on my registered domain, and then paying another $12/year to WordPress in order to make it my primary name. But, voila – it’s done! And, for me – considering my long-term goals – worth it. Now, anybody can find me at: http://markmywordssite.com. The WP link will also redirect there. I like that it feels more professional. Plus, it’s just cool, owning your own domain name.
You know what, Carl? Bite me.
This past week I would characterize as a good mixture of business and pleasure. I’d been cooped up too much the week before, and while searching for a job is important, taking time out to do other things and have some fun is crucial. I had a mandatory “Orientation to Re-Employment Services” meeting at the local worksource center early on Tuesday morning, which was kind of a drag, because it’s depressing to sit around in a room with a bunch of other unemployed people. Plus, they made me get up early. The nerve! While a lot of the information was pretty basic – how to fill out forms, the importance of resumes – I did learn a few things, and met one-on-one with an employment specialist, so in the end it was worth it. That afternoon I took myself to the movies to see Paranormal Activity 2 because a couple of the local theaters have $5 Tuesdays. Great price, considering matinees are now upwards of $8. I may have to make this a weekly ritual. The movie was good – creepy, and lived up to the original.
Wednesday was a completely lazy day. I never showered or even changed out of my pajama pants. I won’t make that a habit, but it was cold and rainy, and it felt good to do that. I still looked for jobs, and found a good one to apply for, so it’s not like I didn’t do anything. Thursday I trekked into Portland for the aforementioned visit to Powell’s. Before that, I hunted down one of the city’s infamous food carts, Koi Fusion. They offer up a fusion of Korean and Mexican food, and are always ranked as one of the best food carts in town. I tried a spicy pork burrito that came loaded with both rice and kimchee. Sure enough, it was delicious! I should do a proper review on another entry. It was one of those soaking wet days with constant heavy rain showers rolling through, and I ended up drenched, but had a blast anyway.
I’m not sure what this weekend holds in store. The weather is turning colder, and they’re throwing around the “S” word a lot. As in, snow. Not a big deal in other parts of the country, but here in the Pacific Northwest, a little bit of snow shuts down the city. Sounds like our best chance is Sunday night and Monday, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the kids end up with a snow day, seeing as how the public education system around here goes into a panic the moment a few flurries fall.
Crossing my fingers though, because I love snow.