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 »  Home  »  Business & Finance  »  The Internet  »  .CA Domain News  »  More people buying up personal domain names on the Internet
More people buying up personal domain names on the Internet
By Internet News | Published  01/23/2008 | .CA Domain News | Unrated
Internet News
The Internet has become a big part of the lives of almost all Canadian. To keep on top of all the news related to the internet, please read the articles found here. 

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Think of it as you.ca.

Personalized web domain names with the .ca tag have become vanity licence plates of the web. "It doesn't cost much money, considering the disappointment when you might find out in the future: 'oh God, I made it into law school, I wish I had bought (the name) years ago,"' said Tim Richardson, who teaches e-commerce at the University of Toronto and Seneca College.

The .ca tag, said Richardson, has become the next logical step for net-savvy users already connected and interconnected on such social sites as Facebook and MySpace.

"It's the whole empowerment thing of the Internet," he said.

"As people realize that the ability to put content on their little Geocities web page and MySpace and Facebook is limited by the built-in software that those circumstances allow, they say, 'I don't want to be limited by only putting up five pictures in a square.'

"And they realize that they can just buy their own domain and put up their own domain however they feel like it."

Many of the names are bought for businesses, but people are now starting to reserve website space for personal use or for a career that may span several companies.

Joe Smith, an artist in Union Bay on Vancouver Island, said that when he decided to start a website six years ago, he was shocked that joesmith.ca was still available.

"I thought, 'There's absolutely no way in this world that I'll ever get joesmith,' " he said.

"And I couldn't believe it. People have had websites for many years now and of all the Joe Smiths in the world, you would have thought somebody would have had the website."

Snagging the domain name was a real coup for the artist.

In the art world, Smith said, you try to peg the marketing of your pictures to your name "so that people will say they've got a 'Joe Smith' or any of the other artists that are well known."

Smith said he only uses his website for professional reasons.

But Richardson says the future of personal websites will involve all facets of life, with people simply storing information and using any computer or electronic device to access it from wherever they may be.

"Think of it as a digital briefcase - you can put stuff up there. You can put personal content, you can make sub-directories, you can also have an e-mail (address)," said Richardson.

If you want your personalized web address, then get clicking - .ca domain names are expected to surpass a million within a few months.

"The number of first names-last names that are available in the English language are slowly declining," said Richardson.

To go about registering a website, you first have to find a name that isn't taken. The website of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (www.cira.ca), which runs the .ca domain, lets you search to see if your choice has already been snatched up by a name doppelganger elsewhere in the country.

The domain name itself can be purchased from a CIRA-registered company and then applied to different types of websites.

If you want, you can build a website from scratch and pay a company for the room required to host all the files and pages. Another option is to have your domain name automatically attached to some types of pre-hosted sites, such as a personal blogging site. Or you can hire someone to build your site for you.

Buying the name can cost as little as $10 a year, with extra fees for e-mail and hosting space. Make sure the company you choose is registered and beware of deals that seem to cost too little, Richardson warns.

There is also a speculative market out there, in which people snatch up common names and sell them back to people at a profit. If you find your name is in use, the CIRA site should provide a contact you can use to ask whether it's for sale.

David Hicks, CIRA's director of marketing and communications, says the number of .ca names is growing at a rate of about 20 per cent per year. He expects it to hit a million by spring and double within two years.

Hicks said since someone must be Canadian or have a connection to Canada to register a .ca site, there should be lots of choice in names for a while to come.

"We've got a fairly wide-open name-space," he said. "Compare that to .com, which has (roughly) 65 million - a lot of the 'good' names have already been taken in .com space.

"We don't have that problem in .ca."


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