To Be or Not To Be: The Domain Question

In 2000, I wrote the following Domain Name soliloquy after a client debated for days on end about whether they should buy this or that domain name. I’ve never seen such reluctance and hesitation for so simple a business decision. No, it’s not simple to choose a great domain name, but it is incredibly inexpensive and very easy to decide to spend seven bucks on a domain to hold it while you make the decision.

Ultimately that client lost his preferred domain name to someone with more decisiveness and I thought, “Wow, what an epic inner battle, over a simple purchase decision! – You’d think they’d die if they didn’t make the right decision!” So I sat down and adapted the following Shakespearean soliloquy, spoken by Prince Hamlet while holding the skull of Yorick and ruminating on his own death.

adaptation by Mike Banks Valentine
with apologies to Shakespeare

To be, or not to be: that is Domain question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of slow, free hosting,
Or to take arms against a sea of wannabees,
And by opposing, end them. To search: to seek;
No more; and, by anonymity to say we end
The heartache of a million useless search results
That eBiz is heir to, ’tis a relevancy
Devoutly to be earn’d. To look; to seek;
To find? perchance to link! Ay, there’s the URL;
For in search fatigue domain names may come,
When we’ve shuffl’d off this long URL,
Must give us pause. There’s the address
That takes gigabytes for so long a name.
For who would bear the tilde and subdirectory,
The competitor’s URL, the name so catchy
The pangs of taken domains, the listing delay,
The insolence of Yahoo, and the spurns
That patient merit of unworthy MySpace,
When he himself might his IPO make
Without Domain name? Who would Google bear,
To grunt through subdirectories and filenames,
But the dread of something after backslash,
The undiscovered Facebook pagefrom whose URL
No surfer returns, puzzles the will
And make us rather bear those URLs we have
Than buy the others that are already taken?
Thus creativity does make cowards of us all;
And thus rush’d to registration of a name
We worry o’er lowly cost of reserving,
And enterprises of great riches and power
With this regard our clients turn away,
And lose the name of

Now when a client asks me about domain name decisions, I simply say, “Go buy them all and don’t hesitate – even if they are owned by others seeking to profit from them. I can’t bear another Hamlet performance!”

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