First up, what is a Domain name and how does it differ from a website? Here is a helpful video to get you up to speed if you don’t already know. If you have an idea already, you can skip the video and jump right into the rest of my blog post.
In September 2013, I spent some time in District of Columbia(D.C.), USA with my cousin Michael, who works in computing. Of the many conversations we had a conversation about my photography branding which lead to us discussing websites and purchasing domain names. At the time I wasn’t fully clear on how I wanted to brand myself and took light of having a website, which I had expressed to him. However he gave me some advice, which would be deemed very important.
His advice was as soon as I decide on my branding I should hurry and purchase a domain name for it, regardless of the fact if I was inclined to build a website or not. He was very serious about this and shared a scenario that had happened to him a years ago. He purchased a domain name and linked it to a website, which had a decent amount of traffic. However a point came and the domain had expired and it took lightly of it. When he decided to repurchase the domain name, someone bought it without his knowledge and was trying to sell it back for a pretty penny. It was then he told me that their are people who search the net for persons who accumulate traffic and don’t have domains names, purchase them and try to sell them for hundreds, sometimes thousands, depending on how popular you are.
I took note of this and held it in the back of my mind. However that’s all I did when I arrived back in Jamaica and last year I paid the price, when I decided to finally launch a website in June 2015. The domain registrar site I used to purchase my current domain name is www.godaddy.com and when I used their search engine to check the availability of www.jikreuben.com, I found out someone had purchased the name. I was disappointed because I was warned about this. After some searching using a site a friend told me referred me to, I found out the domain name was purchased a month before and was bought by a young man in Panama. The domain was up for purchase for $800US…
YES EIGHT HUNDRED US DOLLARS!
I was so livid at this moment, as i didn’t take heed to the advice of my cousin and thus I ended using www.jikreubenvisuals.com. I wanted to book a flight to Panama and find the guy. I made a note on my calendar of when the domain name would expire, and thankfully he only purchased it for a year. One year later my calendar reminder reminded me it was a day before the domain name would expire. I hopped on www.godaddy.com and realized the domain was up for an auction. I entered the auction but the starting bid was too expensive I believed, and it also made note that if no one had bided for the name, it would be up for regular purchase. I checked the box to get notifications of the progress of the domain name. Two weeks ago, the auction had closed and more recently on Monday (September 5th, 2016) I received and email from a representative of Go Daddy stating that www.jikreuben.com was up for grabs.
Now I’m the proud owner of www.jikreuben.com, which costed $18US v.s. the $9.99 I would have paid if I could have purchased it last year, but I’m happy. Not sure what I’m going to do with it as yet, as my current set of business cards, etc all have the current website url on it. I think I might use that URL for a private client website or to feature only my wedding photos.
All in all, I implore you all to go out and purchase your domain name as soon as possible irrespective of if you have plans to obtain a website or not, you never know who is studying you on the internet and ready to pounce on it, to prevent you from being easily found or make money from you. There are a ton different domain registrar sites out there, a quick google search can help you to find others outside of godaddy.com.
Also fi you are a young creative and looking for a website to host and build your portfolio website with easy to use templates www.format.com is a good place to start. There are others like www.squarespace.com, www.zenfolio.com, www.weebly.com, www.smugmug.com that you can check out. I like format.com because the rates are pretty reasonable and their templates are made specifically with photographers and designers/illustrators in mind.
Remember to Share, Like and comment.
One Love and Blessings!
September 7th, 2016
-Visual Ninja, Jik-Reuben Pringle