Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It's a little fuzzy to me as to whether I bought the Southern Muse domain before I found out about the About.com name thing, or after. Miningco had changed to About, Inc. in May of 1999, according to Wikipedia.* I purchased my domain on February 1, 2000. Clearly, About.com was first, but that doesn't mean that I had heard of it back then. Even if Philip had talked to me before I picked out SouthernMuse, I probably wouldn’t have let go of the name. I was already emotionally attached to it by then. At some point, I know that I did begin to think of domain names beginning with “A.” Was I really thinking of buying more domains? If so, avarice was at the heart of it. Tech forums were buzzing with talk about the importance of top placement in search engines, and any time the term SEO popped up, it was accompanied by excited gossip about the possibility of making gazillions of dollars. Big money aside, I would be happy to have my domain pay for itself. When I tested my own placement by performing searches I found that Southern Muse was not exactly at the top of the heap. In searches for "art," or "genealogy," Southern Muse came up about 5,999,999 in the results. I wasn't on page one ~ I wasn't even on 101. How would anybody ever find me?
*"About.com." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 16 Dec 2008, 05:07 UTC. 24 Dec 2008 URI: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=About.com&oldid=258295629
Sigh. It seems that, before I had even bought my domain name, the rest of the world was already clued in on a fact that I hadn’t dreamed of: that there’s more to picking a great domain name than just having a name that sounds nice. It's got to be alphabetical. Apparently, alphabetical placement plays a part in the proper selection of a name. Somewhere between the time that I bought SouthernMuse.com and the time that I had to migrate to a new host,* Philip, formerly of MiningCo and now of About.com, told me about the importance of having a domain name that began with "A," or another letter close to the top of the alphabet. Some search engines listed results alphabetically, he said. What a let-down!
*Host migration: yeah, I suffered that indignity, to be discussed later…