Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Fearful Geek Looks Under the Hood...

Flash back to the year 2000. Then, I was agonizing over whether to take the plunge and invest in my own domain name. Looking back, "invest" is a poor choice of words. "Splurge" might be a better one. Buy a gold brick. But "invest" I did, and for twelve years now, have been the proud owner of an obscure little site that struggles as I do. Southern Muse is now filled with a big pile of pages, interconnected in a fairly disorganized way. My idea for Southern Muse was way too broad for a first web site, or almost for any website. Some of the subsections would do well to have their own site. So, twelve years later, in an effort to divide and conquer, I found myself in the same position: agonizing over whether to buy a domain. And yes, I bit the bullet. I bought one. Not one, but several. And (sigh) much to my regret, I find that the industry of domain registration hasn't changed that much. Oh, the Web has changed. It boggles the mind to see how far web design, blogging tools, CSS, Flash, scripts, and all the other things have come. But the world of domain-name registration is as horrifying as it ever was. It seems a fraudulent, deceitful industry. Registrars have learned the art of selling, there's no doubt about that. Their front pages cover a full range: begging, pleading, boasting, arm-twisting, flirting, and occasionally professional seeming. Ah, but underneath that front page! Horrors. All roads lead to Hell. Professional? Sweetie, you haven't found out what products and services weren't included in that deceitful oversell. You haven't tried to dial that much-touted but non-existent 24/7 support hotline. Cheap? Ha ha ha! Don't be delusional. Shopping carts are for filling. Yours will quickly fill up with add-ons you hadn't thought necessary, but suddenly realize the scary implications of not buying them. Easy. My dear. Have you gotten a look at cPanel? Domain registration, transfer, and web hosting, my friend... those devices were devised purely to inflict torture. They are still housed in the swampy, stagnant, backwaters of some Tim Burton-cum-Steven Kingish sci-fi nightmare. We never should've let the Web be created by children who grew up reading Swamp Thing.