If anyone has ever had a tech issue or done a search for some computer term you've probably come across the YouTube channel “Eli the Computer Guy“.
Eli, another native Baltimorean, creates long form Youtube video tutorials centering around computers and technology topics. Eli does an excellent job of explaining and boiling down complex tech so people can understand. I've sent videos of his to several people.
To my understanding Eli Etherton, Eli the Computer Guy, used to run his own IT and computer services company called EveryManIT but shut it down in 2009. He's made several videos about domain names, the Domain Name System (DNS), IP addresses, networking, etc. You can visist EliTheComputerGuy.com to watch his videos.
Now Eli Etherton, aka Eli the Computer Guy, does YouTube interviews with people at technology and start-up companies, livestreams events he goes to, and generally makes shows about anything he believes his audience will find interesting. He is a full time “YouTuber” and content created for tech.
I recently ran across this video he made for his Daily Blob. He talks about a number of topics on his Daily Blob series and will take viewer and audience questions.
In this Daily Blob episode he talks about new domains and what this means. His opinion, don't buy them as they are “Fool's Gold” and pretty much a scam. He goes through the history of the new domain program by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), what that means for companies running new domains, what that means for you as a consumer, and his own personal story of why new domains and .INFO sucks.
I've transcribed a good portion, but not all the video. I hope those that are hearing impaired or just prefer to read appreciate the time I took to do this. Everyone should understand how terrible new domains are. The video starts around 6 minute mark and he stops talking about domains 35 minutes into the show.
New Top Level Domains are Fool's Gold – Eli The Computer Guy [VIDEO]
I decided I'm going to get a domain name called “Starving Geek” right. It's like I'm gonna create my own little website, I'm gonna talk about the art history [of computers and technology], basically like you guys.
One of the things you have to realize is one of the reasons I'm such a snotty little 14-year old. Why I am so derisive to so many of your guy's opinions. “Oh it's not about the money Eli.” cause remember about 17 years I was in your position. And let me tell you in 17 years I've learned a whole lot about how the world works.
So anyways, basically I wanted this domain name called “Starving Geek” so I wanted StarvingGeek.com. So I go in, go to the, Godaddy I think it was at the time, something like that and go to buy StarvingGeek.com. Cause I figure “Hey, that's an original idea.”
And I go there to buy StarvingGeek.com and I can't buy it. Some other Schmuck has taken StarvingGeek.com and I'm thinking about and I'm look “Hmmmm” what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do? I love that name! I love the name StarvingGeek.com”
Then I see, they are just opened up all these new top level domains. They had .INFO and .TV and lots of other dotty things. So I went “You know… the dot COM boom those .COM name are gone, so what I'm gonna do is buy a .INFO name. I'm gonna be StarvingGeek.INFO. And that is what I'm gonna build my little StarvingGeek empire on back then.
You know the way I thought about it is it was '99 or so . So it was like “Nobody knows about .INFO know, but come on, 5 years. Man in 5 years EVERYBODY is going to be using .INFO, everybody is gonna know what that is. So I bought the .INFO and I went through and I hand coded my HTML site and I actually created my own blogging software way back in 2000. True, true it was really crappy blogging software, but I actually coded my own blogging software to make this thing run.
So basically that was a thing. So I had StarvingGeek.INFO and let me tell you, a year later nobody understood .INFO, two years later nobody understood .INFO and five years later nobody undertsood .INFO.
Unsurprising really. Even now it seems .INFO isn't that well accepted by the general public. Most people are not aware but the .INFO domain extension peaked several years ago with 8 million domain registrations. Now there are about 5.4 million .INFO domains and the numbers keep going down.
People can't find “StarvingGeek”
The weird thing, the horrible thing I found is apparently when you pick domain names, especially when it comes from the heart. When you pick domain names that are very very similar, very similar. So the guy that owns StarvingGeek.info [StarvingGeek.com] really seemed a lot like me in a lot of ways. He had a lot of the same ways of thinking and a lot of the same ways of writing.
So one of the really big problems I ran into was, when I would tell everybody when I was doing my traveling and adventuring around the world, and I was using StarvingGeek.INFO as my blog. That they would go to StarvingGeek.COM. Then they would read this guys stuff, then they would go, “Eli I didn't realize you were working in the Enterprise again.” and I would go “I'm not working in the enterprise. I'm in the middle of friggin Agra in India.” and they would go, “Ohh, but I just read this thing where you were talking about working in this thing in the Enterprise on servers. And the reason was because they kept going to StarvingGeek.COM and they never went to StarvingGeek.INFO. And finally I let the thing lapse on StarvingGeek.INFO and somebody snapped it up.
Nobody understands New Domains (Nobody Will)
Even to this day I want you guys to think about this, way back, way back in 1999  it was like, “I know that in a couple years everybody is going to use .INFO. and not think anything about it. and we are about 15 years later, give or talk on my math.” and let me tell you I don't think anybody uses .INFO. I think .INFO is basically out there for domain name spamming.
So that was my first experience with top level domain names, and that was what I found. Is everybody likes .COM, .com, .COM, .com.
So I go into the business world, I go into consulting I start building websites for my clients I start having my guys build websites for clients. We start talking about web marketing and all that stuff and this kind of horse crap. And I see some clients and they buy .BIZs and .NETs and all that horse crap and I see that it works very very very poorly. So we basically come up with a policy the ONLY domain names we will buy for our clients is .COM! And they go, “Nooo, but I want a .BIZ” and I go, “I don't really care if you want a .BIZ you can go find some other jackass to create your website. Cause I know .BIZ ain't gonna work for you. Cause you all kinds of pain and problems and all that.”
That's not what I do, I am a professional. Part of being a professional is sometimes smacking down your clients and telling them, what they are going to do whether or not they like it. Cause you are the professional. They are paying you good money for services. So sometimes you gotta tell them the services that are best. Be careful with that, but sometimes you do.
So basically we forced everyone to get .COM domains and then more or less everybody is happy with their .COM domains. So basically that goes along, my business shuts down in about 2009. I'm going around doing all this stuff.
And I run into the whole start-up community. Right, so I'm a proponent of the .COM domain names. Cause I learned, I learned way back in 1999 the .INFO sucks. Everybody should go .COM.
Stupid Start-up Domain Names
“Start-ups” can choose some pretty stupid domain names. He goes into dealing with how going with other than .COM hurt them.
So get into the new start-up world and the thing is all these start-up people have decided they want to be really really really cute. And they don't care about things like top level domain names. They want cute names. So .LYs become like the hot crap. You know, Bit.LY, our are Foster.LY, Marker.LY. All of these companies.
They find .CO top level domains, they start buying all of these top level domains to make CUTE names. Because what they are thinking, what's going through there little 23-year old minds, and I look at them and think, “Ahh, that's soo cute I remember when I was that dumb.”
But basically what's going through their minds is, “We want to come up with a brand name that is memorable. We want to come up with a brand name that is memorable. And .COM, .COMs those are for old people those 30-year olds and we are not 30-year olds. We are hip and young and cool. We want .LEs and all these things to create really cool domain names.”
The interesting thing during this time and as I talk about being a real professional. It's so funny to sit there for like a year, “That is a dumb idea. Umm, that is a dumb idea. Umm, I really think that is a dumb idea.” But basically I said that for like a year. Guys you really want .COMs, you really really want .COMs. Everybody uses .COMs, .COM, .COM, .COM.
“Eli, we are millenials. Millenials is the future. Gen X is the past!” and I'm like, “Ehhhh!” and again I'm one of those guys there are so many people screaming at the top of their lungs. These really cool domain names are the way to go it's like, ok. I'm not going to do it I'm going to stick with .COM domain names but hey, maybe I'm wrong. I'll just shut my little mouth and watch you guys take over the world.
The interesting thing that I come to find out is that most of these companies with the .LYs and cute domain names. Again, found that actually people didn't use them or confused them and they were losing visitors. So actually many of them went to .COM. It was kind of really interesting 6 months to a year ago.
Ummm, all of these cute domain names. All of sudden got turned into .COM domain names and when I called the start-up companies they were like, “Yeahhhhh, everybody kept trying to type in .COM. And we weren't a .COM, so were losing traffic. So we went with .COM.”
So that's kind of like where we are. So that's the generation of these top level domain names.
New Domains are a Scam
He goes into talk about new domain extensions.
What I'm going to tell most of you guys is I think it is a hunkabunk to be honest with you. This is another thing where they are just trying to push you into group think and it just doesn't really work in the real world. Cause whether you are a baby boomer, whether you are a Gen Xer, whether you are millennial, or whether are are an Alien. Eveybody just kinda uses .COM.
He continues that anybody that wants you to buy different extensions to cover yourself is wasting money. That's just say “They can go buy a yacht” in Eli's opinion.
A lot of the push to get people to buy these top level domain names, is kind of like one of those scam things they do in technology. Where they try to push you to buy something when it is absolutely new and you are scared you are going to lose out if you don't' buy it. Then they all kind of disappear when they realize, “Why they hell did we just spend $10,000 dollars on a domain name nobody cares about .BOOKS
He says he's never had a problem with buying good .COM domain names.
Over the years, I haven't had that many problems buying good, nice, cool domain names. It seems with me if you just sit down and take an hour to start throwing out names. You can find a really really really good one that is .COM and kind of go on your way.
Eli's parting advice about domains and about new domains is this.
What you need to do is buy your .COM domain name, you need to make sure you are trademarked, and then you need to make sure you have a good lawyer.
What do you think about Eli's experiences with a .INFO domain? What do you think about his advice about only buying domains? Do you agree with Eli Etherton you should only buy .COM domains?