Sep 272014

I’ve (virtually) moved…

Boris Johnson Celebrates Dot London

Boris Johnson celebrates the launch of .london

The new “.london” domain suffix (also known as a TLD – top level domain) is now in full operation and I’ve spent a good part of the last week or so moving davidleonard.net to davidleonard.london.

I didn’t need a man with a van, but my domain host’s help was invaluable. His name is Lopez Shackleford and he’s been hosting my site since 2005. He also hosts the domains of some of my clients. If you are looking for someone to do any designing, building, or hosting of your website then do check him out at www.lopezshackleford.co.uk.

Why make the move?

When I first accepted that I needed a website at the end of 1999, I rejected most of the domain suffixes (eg .com, .org, .co.uk) as being inappropriate for me as a self-employed computer consultant. I registered davidleonard.net because the “.net” suffix didn’t seem to have any connotations as far as the general public was concerned. As Wikipedia says,

The name is derived from network, indicating its originally intended purpose was for organizations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers and other infrastructure companies. However, restrictions were never enforced and the domain is now a general purpose name space.

There never was a domain suffix that perfectly suited self-employed people (as distinct from “companies”, “organisations” etc). The “.london” suffix is, of course, very different in that it doesn’t describe the type of entity that owns the domain. Instead it suggests some kind of geographical association. There are several reasons why I’m very happy to have made this move, including:

  • I live in London and my market is London.
  • It can’t do any harm for potential clients to see that I’m claiming an association with London.
  • London is, of course, the centre of the known universe.

Would I advise you to register a “.london” domain?

If you don’t already have a domain and are thinking of getting one, then my advice would be “why not?”

If you’ve already got a domain and wonder whether to switch, would it be worth the effort?

This is a lot harder to answer. I’ll list some of the things that I have come across in my own case. You’d need to make up your own mind whether it’s worth putting yourself through these hassles (and/or others that I have not encountered):

    Our City Our Domain Ad

  • It’s going to irritate some people that I will now be sending emails from a different address.
  • The main aspects of my website transferred to the new domain without much difficulty (thanks to Lopez), but there were (and still are!) lots of links in my website that are “hard-wired” to look at the old domain. It’s a lot of manual work searching for, and changing, all these.
  • Business cards, letterheads, invoice headers, and email signatures all need changing.
  • Some things can’t be changed, so life is becoming a bit messy. For instance, I can’t change the address from which my weekly blog email newsletters are sent. This is because (a) the Google Feedburner software refused to accept the amendment I tried to make and (b) my research tells me that if I had managed to change it then my subscriber list would have been wiped out! That, I think, is what is known as throwing out the baby with the bathwater. So the email version of this blog will continue to be sent from “noreply+feedproxy@google.com; on behalf of; David Leonard – Computer Support in London (email@davidleonard.net)”
  • Other things that can’t be changed include many online accounts where the username is the old email address. In lots of cases, it is not possible to change the username.
  • Since a complete move of all emails from .net to .london is not possible, I will have to keep incurring a lot of the costs of maintaining two domains (although the website itself only exists as a single entity, accessible via both domain names. Confused?).

We’re not the first city to get its own domain suffix. I think “.paris” and “.berlin” have beaten us to it, but we’re ahead of New York (.nyc). I admit that the whole thing does have a slight whiff of naffness about it – like personalised car number plates. Still, Fortnum & Mason, KPMG, Metro Bank, West Ham FC and Harlequins rugby club have all gone for it. Apparently, GoDaddy alone lodged 40,000 registrations for .london domains up to some time before 23rd September (source: The Drum).

I Love Dot London sloganConclusion: you have to make your own mind up whether it’s worth changing from an existing domain. This applies to any change from any domain to another, of course, not just because we’ve now got our own swanky domain suffix here in London. For my own part, I decided before I started this move that it would probably be the one and only domain change that I would ever undertake. I’m glad I’ve done it, but I’d need a very good reason to want to do it again.

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Computer Support in London
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