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Should You Use Your Name As The Domain Name

written by John Chow on October 16, 2007

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When Scott Wainner contacted me about his new blog, one of the questions he asked was what domain name to use. Scott owned and registered a bunch of possible domains, including his own name. In the end, he went with W Revenue because I advised him against using his own name. I’ve received several questions asking why I advised Scott not to use his name knowing that my blog bears my name. Here’s the answer.

John Chow dot Com Was Never Meant To Be Commercial

I never intended to turn this blog into a commercial operation. It was just suppose to be a place for me to talk about whatever was on my mind. Most of the early readers were friends and family members. The blog was a great way for them to keep up with what’s happening in my life.

Because of a case study to see if money could be made by blogging, the blog went all commercial. In doing so, it attracted a ton and new readers but my family members hardly read it anymore. Were I to do it over again, I would have kept John Chow dot Com as my personal blog and did the case study with a brand new blog using another domain name.

It Could Be Harder To Brand

Generally, it is easier to brand a commercial name than your own name. I had an advantage in that I was already known in the tech circles so it was just a matter of extending my brand into blogging. However, for the average blogger, branding your own name is extremely hard. You’ll have a much easier time branding a trade name than your own name.

It’s Next To Impossible To Sell

How much is John Chow dot Com worth if there’s no John Chow? According to the business Opportunities Weblog, my blog is worth over $3 million but realistically, no one will pay that much for it unless I agreed to stay on (even then I doubt they’ll pay that much). However, if I’m going to sell, I want to cash out and leave, not stay on and work!

I highly doubt Matt Coddington could have sold his blog for $12,000 if he didn’t change its name to Net Business Blog. The really strange thing is John Cow can probably sell his blog much easier than I can sell mine. In the end, I can never sell this blog because this blog bears my name and I want to maintain control of my name.

You Have To Do Most of The Work

When your blog bears your name, you have to write most of the posts. Sure, you can bring in a guest blogger every now and then but for the most part, your readers will expect 90+ percent of the blog posts to be written by you.

Contrast this with the 16 bloggers that write for Blogging Tips. Kevin still writes the majority of the posts but he has a lot more leeway than I do when it comes to using other writers. If Kevin wants, I’m sure he can slowly back away from writing and leave things to the other writers and most readers wouldn’t notice (especially if he removes the writer’s picture next to every posts). This is because the name of Kevin’s blog is BloggingTips.com, not KevinMuldoon.com.

Use Trade Names for Commercial Blogs

If you’re blogging for money, then I recommend you do it with a trade name instead of your own name. You should definitely register your own name as a domain name but keep it for personal use.

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