From the desk of Harsh Strongman
Subj: On the importance of owning your brand
All men should own their FirstnameLastname dot com. This is irrespective of if you want to use it or not.
Here are 5 reasons you should own yourname dot com:
1. Owning your name allows you to control your reputation
You need to be in control of your reputation.
Your name is your brand, your identity, and your reputation – you must have control over it.
You can use your name to put up good things about you – what you’re building, what you’re accomplishing, what you’ve done in the past – basically, everything you want people to see.
You want people to find good things about you when they Google your name and you don’t want them to see any embarrassing history you have. Owning your name lets you control (to a large extent) what your digital impression is going to be on people.
If you do not control your reputation, other people will.
People who want to hurt you will buy your name and put up all the embarrassing things you’ve done on it for everyone to see. You do not want to allow this to happen.
Case in point – Samy Dindane. He’s a guy who scammed me of $10,000+ in affiliate commissions. Took the money and ran.
If you go to his name – SamyDindane.com you will find the story of how he scammed me and probably his other affiliate partners for the world to see. His children (if he manages to have them) will eventually type his name out of curiosity and find the story – bringing eternal shame to himself and his family.
This would be much harder for me to do if he had owned his name. Unfortunately for him, I own his name and thus I control his reputation.
You must own your name whether you intend to use it or not. At the very least, owning your name will protect you from any enemies you might happen to make.
Instead of spending $10 on a beer, go to Namecheap and spend it on yourname dot com so that the people who wish to hurt you can’t get it for themselves and damage your brand with it.
2. Your name serves as a starting point for your business identity
In the future, if you want to set up a personal website, sell consulting services, or even start up a newsletter – a website with your name is the perfect starting point.
Even if you don’t intend on selling anything, you can use your name to host a resume or a portfolio website.
Domain names are the real estate and as long as the internet exists, people will look up your website before they decide to hire you, work with your business, or just to learn more about you.
3. Your name will always be relevant
Your business may change. Your location may change. Your hobbies may change. Hell, even your appearance and personality may change. But your name will stay the same. It’ll always be a relevant pointer to you and therefore you must own it.
4. It allows you to get a professional email address
Owning your name also allows you to get a professional email id. Instead of cumlover69 @gmail.com, you can now use firstname.lastname@example.org which is far more professional and easier to remember.
Having a normal @yahoo or @gmail email address just makes you look like an amateur.
Who would you trust to be more competent? Someone who uses an @yahoo.com account or someone who has a branded email account? Of course, you would trust the person with the branded email address more.
5. It’s cheap. So cheap that if you don’t buy it, someone else will.
Getting yourname dot com costs next to nothing. If it is available, you can get it for as little as $10-$15 a year.
In fact, domains are so cheap that there are companies that buy and squat on thousands of them, hoping to resell them for a profit.
Back in 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto himself noted “The price of .com registrations is lower than it should be, therefore any good name you might think of is always already taken by some domain name speculator.”
If you have a unique name, it should be easy to get a dot com. Get a dot com if you can. If you have a common name, you are unlikely to find the domain available.
In either case, available domains are sparser each year (mostly because of squatters) and you should get your name now if it is available. If you wait too much, you will not be able to get it. It only costs $10.
Do this right now. You must own your name. It represents you on the internet.
The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your name will be taken by someone else.
FAQ: What to do if your name dot com is taken?
The short answer is that you need to figure it out.
Can you add a middle name and get it? Or just your middle initial? If this is available, get this.
If not, maybe go with some other combination of initials, like MGandhi dot com instead of Mahatma Gandhi dot com.
If that doesn’t work either, you need to add a word to your name that represents what you do. For example, my web designer Sean (also the author of The Complete Web Design Course ™) uses Seanzdesign as his online identity.
Be creative and figure it out. You know yourself better than anyone else.
Hope this helps.
– Harsh Strongman
Note: The cheapest place you can get a domain is NameCheap. You can also get cheap professional emails over there. If your blood is a little richer, you can use Google Workspace as your email provider (costs 6 times as much).