Dear People of Blogger
A few years ago, I decided to start a blog. I had a novel that I wanted to write and I figured that if I had a blog, I’d be able to pin myself down to a chapter every two or three days and within six months, I’d have my first novel in the bag.
My book was going to be about an ugly man who – somehow – woke up one morning to find that he was irresistible to women. The blog on which it was to be based would simply be called Irresistible. It was perfect.
So I switched on the internet and went to the Blogger sign-up page. Unfortunately, Irresistible had already been taken.
Of course, I could have then turned to Wordpress or LiveJournal or one of the many other free blogging platforms, but I didn’t. Rather, I cursed the owner of the title I wanted and I ditched the whole idea. Which in retrospect is a shame, because if I’d kept up with it, I might now be lounging, tan and strong, poolside in Malibu, sipping margaritas with Charlie Kaufman and Audrey Tautou.
And you know it wouldn’t have been so bad if the person who’d stolen my career had actually done something with Irresistible. But instead, they just let the weeds have it.
The tragedy of course, is that this kind of thing happens all the time. And it can be very frustrating.
As I’m sure you’re aware, finding the right name for your blog is very important, and very likely something every blogger agonises over. If you’ve ever named a child before, you’ll maybe understand just how important it is to get it right. I personally have never named a child – not officially at least – but I have named a couple of cats and let me tell you, it’s a tough old job.
Young bands also, at that tentative christening period, must feel something similar. Of course, with a band, as with a blog (not so much with a child), you can always ditch it if it doesn’t work out and start again… but to get it right for first time. That’s when you’re golden.
And when it happens, when you hit upon the name that’s right for you, and right for the thing you’re naming, you know. You feel it. It’s like falling in love. It chimes with your core. You roll it around your gums and imagine your enemies jealous, kicking themselves that their blog is such a self-regarding bag of bumbling and mumbleweeds; and you imagine your pals smiling and saying, ‘Oh, that’s good’, or ‘That’s so Sam'.
Let us imagine a typical example. Maybe you’re an annoyingly over-zealous Withnail fan and you’re also a budding poet. A chilling combination. The blog you ache to start, populated with your poems and occasional love letters to Bruce Robinson can only have one possible title.
It’s from the scene in which Monty and Marwood meet for the first time, and Monty asks Marwood if he writes poetry.
‘Oh, no,’ says Marwood, ‘I wish I could. It’s just thoughts really.’
There it is. Your blog name. There can be no other.
Unfortunately, Just Thoughts Really has gone. And it’s not a pretty site.
Sadly, examples of such blog atrocities are seemingly infinite. Think of almost any potential title for any kind of blog and check to see if the blogspot domain is free. The chances are it won’t be. Furthermore, the chances are, the domain will be an unweeded garden, grown to seed.
Let’s say for example, you want to start a Shakespeare fan blog. Where shall we start? Um, what about To Be Or Not To Be? Nope, that’s taken I’m afraid, and tarnished. OK, what about To Blog Or Not To Blog? Nope, nor that one neither. Nor that one neither. So, let’s try just Hamlet? Nope, sorry, taken by the aptly-named Procrastinator. I Am Not Prince Hamlet? Nope. Alas, Poor Yorick? Nope. OK, what about just Shakespeare? Taken and, frankly, violated. Shakespeare Blog? Nope. I Love Shakespeare? Nope.
OK, balls to Shakespeare. What if your tastes are in the cultural gutter? Well, sadly, both Sex and the City and Mamma Mia have been snapped up and abandoned.
But hold on a minute. These aren’t the kind of names that people generally hit upon for their blogs. Let’s try and think of some more likely blog names.
OK here’s a list, off the top of my head, and - surprise, surprise - they’ve all of them gone, and they're all of them dead.
My So-Called Life. Me and My Life. Days of My Life. My Big Fat Geek Life. The New Me. Man of Many Hats. Excess Baggage. The Sound of My Own Voice. Where the Wild Things Are. Time Please. All You Need Is Love. Love Is All You Need. Love and Death. Making A Killing. English Psycho. Lol. Port In A Storm. Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. Sex and Drugs. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.
I’m beginning to wonder, of all the blogs that have ever been activated, how many are actually or have ever been used?
If the internet was the real world, you wouldn't be able to move for dead blogs. All life on the planet would be snuffed out, suffocated by the tiny corpses of aborted Blogger foetuses.
It's a bit depressing, frankly.
Setting up a blog should come with some sense of responsibility, and if the blogger is not prepared to take that responsibility, then it must be left to the service provider.
Therefore, in my most humble opinion, you, the people of Blogger, should do something up about it. Firstly, you should send an email to all Blogger clients who have posted on no more than three occasions and who have not touched their blogs for over a year, and you should ask them if they wish to continue using their blog. If they don’t reply, you should write again, just to make sure. Then if they still have not replied, their blogs should be deleted and their domains once more made available for public use.
Then, maybe on a specially designated day, you could make a big deal about how from this moment on, another 500,000 Blogger domains are available, waiting to be snapped up.
Not only could you make a huge amount of positive PR out of it – ‘We’re Tidying Up The Internet!’ - but also, by freeing up your dormant domain names at once, it would greatly improve the experience of using your product, especially from the point of view of the beginner blogger.
Also, you could even say it was good for the environment. You’d be recycling all the dead domains. Hey, maybe it is!
So could you do that, please?
Oh, and please check on this chap. I’m worried about him.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Dear People of Blogger