Secure your name!

With personal websites, blogs, e-portfolios, and the like, one creates a digital identity. Sometimes it is anonymous, as you cannot readily see the person behind it. At other times, the author/owner is clearly identifiable. Not everyone is comfortable with being open on the web, but they may change their mind in the future. There may come a time where they want their name to be their domain name for their online site or blog.

Have you had difficulty registering a username, finding that you have to add 1001 or some other number behind the one you want? The shorter and more common ones are likely to be taken. One recommendation was to choose your username and register it consistently on many social media sites so that your username is part of your identity and carried from site to site. Of course, the contrary argument is to use something obscure and different for security reasons.

Returning to the domain name issue, many have purchased their name with one or more extensions such as .com, .net, .org, or .ca. Fortunately, many people have not given their personal domain name much thought, so your name may still be available. It is inexpensive and easy to register your personal domain name. You do not actually have to use it until you are ready to do so. If you are using a hosted site, such as a blog on WordPress or Blogger, you can point your domain name to it. There are lots of options, and your friends and colleagues are likely to offer you advice.

For me, my personal domains,,, and, are just three of the ways I maintain my identity online! Is your digital identity/name secured? I look forward to your comments, questions, and suggestions.

A.E. (Tony) Ratcliffe
PhD Research Student, BDRA

Leave a comment


  1. I’m lucky enough that my name is relatively unique (there are maybe 2 others with my first-and-last-name combo, and only 1 other with my first and maiden name). I was able to secure my full name easily with a .com extension – now I just have to build the site!

  2. Tony, there are some great ideas here, and I agree with the importance of all of them. I suppose the one thing to add is the importance of using the same avatar across all of them as well, so those visual learners among us will see the same image used and recall previous conversations and comments with that image.

    BTW, I do own my own name as my domain!


  3. bdra

     /  July 29, 2011

    Starling, thanks for the comment and good luck with your site.

    Jeffrey, good point about the same avatar. I find it takes a while to catch up with all of them when I change a picture, but that is something I try to do. Some people do not wish to show a real picture, but consistency with a different avatar allows for quick recognition. Of course, you realise this is a shared community blog, so my personal identity is not shown with an avatar.


  4. I help run a self storage facility in Letchworth, UK. This is a great idea and so simple, I only hope I can still register my name. I am going to go away and see if I can do it now. I am absolutely convinced .com sitenames are going to go up in value. Think about it, there are only so many names / words etc and they reckon some 50,000 sites are being launched a day, so eventually every combination (without hyphens) will be taken.


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