// Internet Duct Tape

WordPress.com Domain Registration – From the User’s Point of View

Posted in Technology, WordPress.com Tips by engtech on October 27, 2006

Regular readers may already have realized that I’m a WordPress.com fan boy. Anyone who has come from Blogspot will tell you how good things are over here (not that there isn’t the occasional problem – I’m the reason the Delete Post button turns red when you hover over it). I don’t post about every new feature that hits wordpress.com, but I thought people might be interested in finding out more about the latest paid upgrade from the point of view of someone who’s using it.

WordPress.com introduced Domain Registration and Mapping this week (Raincoaster got the first one). The price is reasonable at $10 USD/year for domain mapping or $15 USD/year for domain mapping and registration — and it fits in with their business model of world-class hosting for free with premium upgrades for power users. Some friends and I had been talking about getting beatsentropy.com for several months and our laziness paid off with a much simpler solution.

Why pay extra to have your own domain?

It’s an image thing.

Having a weblog address ending in blogspot.com, typepad.com, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an @aol.com email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a na�ve beginner who shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

– Jakob Nielsen

You can buy the upgrade with your PayPal account and it is as simple as entering the domain name you want and pressing Ok (followed by a form to collect your personal information for the registration). We had the domain within the hour, but that was unusually fast (or, I have no sense of time). The good news is that the domain belongs to us and if we decide to go to self-hosted we can take the domain with us.

Of course, like most things involving computers, it isn’t entirely seamless. There is a Q&A post in the support forum that covers some of the problems people have encountered. This is my list:

#1: RSS feed redirection. The RSS feeds to the old URL worked just fine with Bloglines and Google Reader. The WordPress Sidebar Feed widget broke though, as will any other feed reader that doesn’t support redirects. Another reason to use Feedburner. It would be nice if we had the option to set the “auto-detect” feed in wordpress.com blogs, so that it didn’t default to blog.wordpress.com/feed.

#2: Slow image loading. Pages that used a lot of image URLs linking to the old blog were slower to load (9+ images on one page). It is worth going through posts that use a lot of images and changing them to use the new URL.

#3: Technorati Rank. This is a killer for some people. Technorati doesn’t support having multiple domains for one blog (I’ve put in a support ticket and will update this post with the results). So beatsentropy.com and frambojan.wordpress.com have different rankings. The previous rank before the domain name changed doesn’t transfer over to the new domain. This looks like a Technorati problem more than an Automattic problem.

UPDATE 2006/11/02: Janice got back to me.
Hello engtech,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve taken a look at your request regarding consolidation for “frambojan.wordpress.com” and “beatsentropy.com“. I’m afraid that we are unable combine links from different URLs at this time. Links are URL based and are unique citations to that blog at that time.

However, I can mark “frambojan.wordpress.com” as a duplicate so that indexing and link count will point to
beatsentropy.com” from here on. Would you like me to mark “frambojan.wordpress.com” as a duplicate?

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions. We apologize for any inconvenience. We are looking into providing consolidation as a feature in the future. Thank you for using Technorati!

#4: The personal information entered for registration is publically available on the Internet by doing a WHOIS. This could be an issue for you if you are an anonymous blogger.

UPDATE: This is also an issue because marketers will use this information to spam you. domainwarning.com has much more information on this subject. There is a free website called myprivacy.ca which is specifically for domain name registration emails. They maintain a whitelist of valid people who will try to contact you through your domain name registration email — everything else is blocked.

technorati ranking bug domain mappingIt makes me glad I did this with beatsentropy.com instead of my main blog at engtech.wordpress.com that has over 250 back-links and a sub-10,000 Technorati rank. I know Raincoaster is a bit miffed at this turn of events.

One think to keep in mind is that Technorati rank is calculated based on a sliding 180 day window. So within six months the old blog address will become a non-issue. Still, it is a painful hit if you’ve already spent six months or longer building up your Technorati rank.

34 Responses

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  1. raincoaster said, on October 27, 2006 at 11:33 am

    raincoaster is EXTREMELY MIFFED, but she is going to give WordPress a fighting chance. She’d have raised less of a stink if WordPress had gotten back to her and answered her questions two days ago.

    See how mad I am? I’m referring to myself in the third person!

    But it sure doesn’t help that I’m actually looking for work as a blogger and my technorati rank has just gone down by three hundred thousand places.

  2. raincoaster said, on October 27, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I agree that Technorati is really backward in this regard, and it should not be impossible to change over; it should be a standard process. Now to go check Truth Laid Bear, Pingoat, etc, etc.

    Still, if WordPress had have asked me if I wanted my domain changed and I’d known about this, I’d probably have refused. Glad you’re putting the info out so clearly so other people can be informed.

  3. engtech said, on October 27, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Wow, that was fast commenting.

    Yeah, it especially sucks because you didn’t even chose this for yourself.

    You can try putting in a support ticket at Technorati as well — I got a 12 hr response last time, but that was after several ignored tickets. (Link count problem or Other is most appropriate category)

    Best bet is to call Technorati tomorrow at 415-896-3000 (San Francisco)

    (Their address is 665 3rd Street. They’re the neighbour of the beast and that explains everything).

  4. Matt said, on October 27, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Whoa raincoaster! Personally I think it’s silly to get worked up over a made-up ranking on a site full of spam that drives very little traffic, especially if you’re not in the top 100. (I was in the top 10 before they blocked me, and even that only drove under 200 hits a day.) That stuff is ephemeral, and the whole point of a domain is to be more permanent.

    However if you want to switch back, it’s easy. One click!

    https://raincoaster.wordpress.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=domains

    Click on “put blog here” next to your old domain, click your heels twice, and say “there’s no place like home…”

  5. raincoaster said, on October 27, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks, I shall do that.

  6. engtech said, on October 27, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    That’s a really good idea until Technorati comes up with some solution for multiple domain names (if we put in a support request now… should only take 3-4 months).

    I can understand caring about the Technorati rank when it comes to trying to get a job as a blogger, but yeah — it is pretty useless for driving traffic.

  7. remembertoday said, on October 28, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Okay, so even after skimming through the comments here and other places on WP, please tell me do I have this right: I can pay $10 to have a link on my business web site that I own that would actually be the link to my remembering.WP.com blog, which I intended to be a marketing tool/newsletter type of blog. Readers could find my blog through either avenue, my web page link or WordPress.com…but it will have an address with my website (geitgey.com) and give that out to folks, put on business cards, etc??? I rather liked having WP in the name as it is easier to spell. I’m hoping both address work.

    Okay if I ask another question??? Is there a feature on WP.com to promote your web by inviting others via e-mail to visit/view your Blog? I am excited about having a Blog and I like the “high quality” I am finding at WP, but I am a newbie and a bit over-whelmed figuring it all out…even reading FAQ gets me confused. But I have figured some of it out.

    Thanks for your help. RuthE

  8. engtech said, on October 29, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    #1:

    If you already own your business website, then yes, it’s $10 USD/year.
    If you don’t already own your business website, then you have to pay $15 USD/year.

    The new address will replace your old blog address. Going to remembering.wordpress.com would redirect to geitgey.com. Both addresses will work.

    #2:

    No, there isn’t a feature for promoting/inviting others. Here’s a quick list of how to promote a blog:
    - write good content (most important)
    - use appropriate titles and tags/categories for your posts so that they are easier to find in search engines
    - leave insightful comments on other people’s blogs

    We do have a small community for blog promotion at http://www.fanpop.com/spots/wordpress.com/ , but it hasn’t really taken off yet

  9. Tech talk with engtech « Beats Entropy said, on October 30, 2006 at 8:15 am

    [...] I hit the Technorati Top 10,000. This means there are only 9,000+ blogs that are more popular than //engtech. WordPress.com has domain registration and mapping (that’s how we have beatsentropy.com) . We put together a “post voting” system on Fanpop for wordpress.com blogs and introduced a few new people to Beats Entropy. Oh yeah, and a Canadian politician was fired from the conservative party for blogging. [...]

  10. Daij said, on October 30, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    When I found out…I signed up for the domaining and the css upgrade…i wanted my blog to be my own, I didn’t want to appear to be a rookie, didn’t want my blog to look like every other wp.com blog, and i wanted to be like some other blogs i am a fan of and have my own domain instead of a subdomain. I’m not that technical with my own hosting, probably I never will be – that is another reason why I’m splurging thru WP.

  11. engtech said, on October 31, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Yeah, I’ve heard some pretty bad horror stories about self-hosting as well.

  12. raincoaster said, on October 31, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Well, now I can’t switch back, because the three links that are driving most of the traffic to my blog are to raincoaster.com. I’ll just keep going with Operation Global Media Domination and see how fast I can get raincoaster in whatever form back to a position of No Loss.

    Matt, I know Technorati is ephemeral. I know I get hardly any hits from it. But in the blogosphere it’s considered the gold standard for comparison purposes and now I look like the 250000th-most important blogger, whereas before I looked like the 21000th most important. Especially for a jobseeking blogger, this matters, however it looks to you in the top ten.

  13. Rami Nasser said, on November 01, 2006 at 6:29 am

    Great post engtech. Your second point on image loading speed helps explain my slow blog. Thanks.
    And raincoaster, I think you make a good point about Technorati, considering that their business is based on ranking blogs, they should’ve been on top of this.

  14. engtech said, on November 01, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    Technorati does such a horrible job. It’s easy to believe what Matt said about only getting 200 hits/day from being in the top 10. I’m really starting to believe that bloggers are the only ones who use it.

  15. The Rooster said, on November 02, 2006 at 11:19 am

    The new theme is better.

    BTW I was thinking of doing the domain thing. I already own http://www.roostersrail.com but I was thinking of changing the name servers. However I think there are some issues that need ironing out before I do.

  16. engtech said, on November 02, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    Yeah, I liked the full-widthness of the old one, but I finally had to own up that the sidebar covers the body text in IE.

  17. engtech said, on November 02, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    So there was a response from Technorati (only a week later, an improvement!)

    Hello engtech,

    Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I’ve taken a look at your request regarding consolidation for “frambojan.wordpress.com” and “beatsentropy.com“. I’m afraid that we are unable combine links from different URLs at this time. Links are URL based and are unique citations to that blog at that time.

    However, I can mark “frambojan.wordpress.com” as a duplicate so that indexing and link count will point to
    “beatsentropy.com” from here on. Would you like me to mark “frambojan.wordpress.com” as a duplicate?

    Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions. We apologize for any inconvenience. We are looking into providing consolidation as a feature in the future. Thank you for using Technorati!

  18. raincoaster said, on November 04, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    Well that’s what pull will get you; they still haven’t responded to me. I shall send them a reminder note and request. Thanks for the update!

  19. engtech said, on November 07, 2006 at 2:07 am

    oops, you did see this and I just missed your comment.

    Here’s the results so far of marking frambojan.wordpress.com as a duplicate:
    nothing.

    No change in the rank of beatsentropy.com at all.

    :)

    I think Matt’s correct with the “screw technorati rank” approach to life.

  20. [...] Run your own domain from day one. Starting off on a free web host and then moving to your own domain will reduce your rankings. Technorati does not understand that one blog can have multiple URLs. [...]

  21. raincoaster said, on November 13, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    Easier to say when they work with you. Harder to say straightfacedly when you’ve dropped five million positions.

  22. engtech said, on January 16, 2007 at 12:15 am

    SEOMoz has an article about expectations and best practices for switching domain names.

    http://www.seomoz.org/blogdetail.php?ID=1627

  23. [...] Still wondering if it’s worthwhile and if there’s any downside? Read this. [...]

  24. Arkhitekton said, on April 06, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I just folded my WordPress.org blog that I’d been fiddling around with for almost a year! Back on WordPress.com, I can now concentrate on writing/posting rather than keeping up with WordPress.org versions, plugin versions etc.

    To get the ball rolling I upgraded to Domain Mapping (http://arkhitekton.net/2007/04/06/domain-mapping-with-wordpresscom/) and because I registered my domain elsewhere, I don’t have to worry about point #4.

    Great post engtech!

  25. [...] I have a bad tendency to treat this number like it matters despite WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg’s comment that being in the Technorati Top 100 will account for less than 200 hits a day. [...]

  26. [...] your own domain from day one. Starting off on a free web host and then moving to your own domain will reduce your rankings. Technorati does not understand that one blog can have multiple [...]

  27. links for 2008-02-12 « AB’s reflections said, on February 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    [...] WordPress.com Domain Registration – From the User’s Point of View « // Internet Duct Tape How the domain switching on wordpress affects the blog (tags: blogging domain experience) [...]

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