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Why Can't I Just Be Me?
November 4, 2011 10:19 PM   Subscribe

It's finally time for me to set up a website. Sadly, saralastname.com is being parked by someone who shares my name. What to do?

Potential options:

Contact this other Sara C. and make her understand that I truly deserve the domain more?

Buy the .net and hope .com expires someday?

Buy a less attractive variation .com like lastnamesara or sara-lastname?

Come up with a different domain totally unrelated to my name?

This will be a blog and/or online portfolio for my writing. Right now I mostly get paid for travel writing, though I am working in the direction of a screenwriting career. And even if that never pans out, I don't want to narrow my focus too much. A name dealing with writing would be fine and something travel-ish would be ok too. So far I have considered wordysara* and ladysizedbackpack**. Thoughts on either option? Suggestions?

*Though I think it's very reminiscent of Sarah Vowell and The Wordy Shipmates.

**I'm a female budget traveler, geddit?
posted by Sara C. to Computers & Internet (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a super common name and faced your same problem, I ended up settling on a .org url. Is that an option you'd consider?
posted by troika at 10:25 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


So far I have considered ... ladysizedbackpack**. Thoughts on either option?

Please don't. From "ladysizedbackpack.com" I get either:

-something related to menstruation, euphemisms about time of the month,
or
-something serial-killer related, pertinent specifically to victim type (lady) and transportation (backpack)

Each with reasonably distasteful connotations.
posted by arnicae at 10:25 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Go for the .net or .org

Or:

writersara
sarathewriter
writingsara
wordsmithsara

etc.

wordysara sounds a bit negative, and not so much like a play on words.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:36 PM on November 4, 2011


How about "Sara Says"?
posted by millions of peaches at 10:40 PM on November 4, 2011


Google searches for "lady sized backpack" result pretty exclusively in sites selling backpacks designed for women.

I regard this as potentially a good thing, since a lot of people in the market for women's backpacks are in my demographic. Then again, I'm not an outdoorsy/camping sort of travel writer, so maybe that and the serial killer thing make it a wash.

I don't think writersara, saralastnamewriter, etc. sound good/interesting/catchy at all. Especially since I know for a fact that I'm not the only writer with that name. I think this would work if you were a tax preparer or chef or something, but writer is so general that it sounds presumptuous.

Will stop threadsitting now.
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 PM on November 4, 2011


How about "Sara Says"?

Weird...my cousin's blog is named that.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:44 PM on November 4, 2011


quesarasara.com
posted by hal_c_on at 10:45 PM on November 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


quesarasara.com

queserasera.org is the blog of the very funny and awesome Sarah Brown. This domain name could lead to some confusion.
posted by millions of peaches at 10:49 PM on November 4, 2011


I went with my initials plus my hyphen (and I have domain alerts on all the non-hyphenated versions.) Is SaraXLastname taken?
posted by SMPA at 10:51 PM on November 4, 2011


queserasera.org is the blog of the very funny and awesome Sarah Brown. This domain name could lead to some confusion.

Not likely.

Also...com is taken...but nothing else is...if you don't grab them within the next 24 hours, I'm gonna buy a bunch of them up for my cousin's blog...
posted by hal_c_on at 10:53 PM on November 4, 2011


sarasea.net sounds awesome and looks pretty. say it aloud.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:55 PM on November 4, 2011


ack, i wrote that, walked off, then came back and hit post without remembering to make sure it wasn't taken first. which of course it was.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:56 PM on November 4, 2011


re saraxlastname: unfortunately both my middle and last names start with the same letter, resulting in something extremely confusing to type out.

re sarasea - it's pretty, but way too specific in a personal branding sense.
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 PM on November 4, 2011


(d'oh, just got that sea = C. either way.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 PM on November 4, 2011


Same problem here. I opted for "FirstnameLastnameOnline.com" - just adding "online" after my name.
posted by brownrd at 11:01 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another idea - and then I am REALLY leaving the thread, I promise:

lastnameprojects.com? available.
posted by Sara C. at 11:08 PM on November 4, 2011


I think .net has gained a lot of popularity amongst people since the mid-2000s, so I don't see anything wrong with going with [fullname].net. That'd be my choice, even if .com were available.
posted by Redfield at 11:52 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you have a first or middle initial you can use? For example, saraAlastname.com or Asaralastname.com?

Alternatively, I'd just go with the .net version. You could, in addition, go to the current registrar and see if they offer a "backorder" service of some kind where $50 will get you first dibs on the .com version if it does go away.
posted by fireoyster at 11:56 PM on November 4, 2011


how about . . . saraintransit.com? (or .net, or whatev.) if you stop writing about travel, it doesn't necessarily become unusable.

"FirstnameLastnameOnline.com"

firstnamelastnameontheinternet.com would be a funny play on this. not that i'd recommend going that direction.

agreed with what Redfield says about .net gaining popularity and being a solid choice. sometimes, it just sounds sleeker than .com.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:57 PM on November 4, 2011


I think if you go for the .net or the .org you will inevitably lose people who are going to go to the .com instead and stop there. If you can't buy the .com off the other Sara C., I would go for something like lastnameprojects.com.
posted by Adventurer at 12:03 AM on November 5, 2011


have you contacted the person who has the domain you want? the worst that can happen is they quote you a price you think is unreasonable, and you say no thanks.

the thought occurs to me that if you buy the .net/.org, and you get any decent traffic or recognition, the .com becomes that much more expensive to obtain.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:23 AM on November 5, 2011


I don't agree that .com matters. http://www.godaddy.com/ will probably offer your preferred name with something other than .com for a very reasonable rate. Having .com makes no difference compared to anything else. People will link to you and it doesn't matter what the link is or they will google your name, and .com is irrelevant there as well.
posted by joannemullen at 12:24 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I agree with joannemullen on the .com angle. People will often type ".com" no matter what you say the extension is, just out of habit. A client had the opportunity to grab the .com of their domain but opted for the .org instead (I said get both, redirect the one you don't want), and they probably field one or two "how come I'm looking at this dude's website when I typed what you told me?"

That said, I'd rather you had a succinct and memorable .net than a difficult .com. And, for the love of your god, don't opt for a domain that you have to explain when mentioning it. I feel this includes hyphens and unnatural plurals, cute spellings, looooooong domains, or a name that seems to have nothing to do with your business. All of that is OK for a personal site, and somehow some internet giants get away with crappy dropped letters like "flickr", but for the rest of us in a professional capacity, you need to be able to say it on the phone or in person with a 99% certainty the person is going to write it down correctly.
posted by maxwelton at 12:39 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got one more idea for you, Sara:

Sara C***** as taken from your profile.

SaraSeaward.com
posted by hal_c_on at 1:04 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My last comment was a shout out to the AD.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:09 AM on November 5, 2011


Since it is for business you might want to contact the owner of the .com and ask if they'll sell for $200 or so.
Alternatively I think the .net is not bad. Having both first and last name in your domain helps with search engine ranking for your name. Saralastnameprojects.com also works for that and I'd prefer it over more cutesy names like wordysara.
posted by davar at 2:06 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"wordysara" is really cutesy, in a bad way. I agree that "ladysizedbackback" is generally kind of oblique and unprofessional.

re saraxlastname: unfortunately both my middle and last names start with the same letter, resulting in something extremely confusing to type out.

What about SLastname.com? Or your entire full name: saramiddlelastname.com. Though I agree that having a .net is not the end of the world.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:21 AM on November 5, 2011


What about:

thesaralastname.com

?
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:30 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't have any specifics to suggest, but I have found Nameboy to be helpful for playing with domain name possibilities. (And I don't think they play the "monitor your searches and snipe the good domains out from under you" game that people are always paranoid about.)
posted by usonian at 7:40 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


saralastnamewrites.com?
posted by dogmom at 8:06 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could see if the .name is still available. It's a valid, if unpopular, TLD (I have one, but I'm not one of the cool kids).

The vast majority of your traffic will not be directly typed into the address bar. It'll be links from other sites or google searches.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


URLs should be easy to type, easy to google, and easy to remember. SaraCnameCname is long, but clear. The other Sara C is unlikely to want to sell the name for cheap, but you can ask. Or you could ask to develop a simple site at SaraC___.com with a link to your new site. Both your 1st and last name have multiple spellings, so you could use a name that is clear and unambiguous, but not your name. blueinkpen.com was taken, but something clear and easy. Looks like sara-c___.com is available.
posted by theora55 at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2011


Is there anything you constantly say when you have to spell your name, like "Sarah but without the H" or anything along those lines with your last name? Spell that out + .com? That has worked for me in the past.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2011


How about a pseudonym? Create a pro stage name and start using it consistently. Just a thought.
posted by sandra_s at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sarah.Lastname.com ?
posted by misterbrandt at 8:39 AM on November 5, 2011


I know someone with a popular name who gets around this problem by having "thisis(firstname)(lastname).com"
posted by hermitosis at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


ooh I love hermitosis' suggestion!
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2011


Hoiw about sarasmiles.com? You're traveling miles and its easy to remember because of the song.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2011


I am a SaraLastname.

SaraLastname.org was taken, so I went with LastnameSara.org. But,I am also using it for purely personal use, so it doesn't bother me that much.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2011


Didnt read all the responses but I had a similar dilemma. What I did was use www.firstname(middle initial)lastname.com.

Works out well and seperates me from the very few others who share my name.
posted by handbanana at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2011


Please don't use a hypen. It's annoying to type, and it will be even more annoying to say on the phone or in person.

I don't like wordysara or ladysizedbackpack but I do agree that you could come up with something like travelingsara.com or shoestringsara.com
posted by radioamy at 3:46 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Playing off of hermitosis, what about something like "iamsaralastname.com?" Bonus points: no obnoxious hyphen, .com TLD, both first and last name included.
posted by meggan at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2011


I see no reason to try for a catchall domain name. Why not have a travel writing domain name, and a screenwriting domain? You can always tell your screenwriting contacts about your travel site.

How 'bout female budget traveler dot com ( spaces so a domain speculator won't snap it up).
posted by at at 9:39 PM on November 6, 2011


Hey everybody!

I ended up going for a combination of different people's ideas, which is why I marked some very different answers as best answers.

I bought five domains:

saralastname.net

iamsaralastname.com

lastnameprojects.com

ladysizedbackpack.com (it's continued to grow on me and it's only $10 a year, so why not? prob. won't use as my portfolio site, though. may bounce a tumblr to it or something.)

sarasmirks.com (a nod to sarasmiles.com, fits my "voice" better)

Now I just need to figure out which of these I actually want to use in the near term, and how I want to use them.

Thanks for all your help, everyone!
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have had lastname.net for a long, long time. No regrets. (Someone parked it when I had another last name)
posted by getawaysticks at 12:48 PM on November 8, 2011


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