I never would say that Domains of Ones Own (DoOO) has quote/unquote died, but certainly it’s post peak witnessing the withering of blog posting in lieu substacking and the reach for Google Docs more than anointing a web site.
Like many who cling to a few, I have to glance at the pack of 10+ domains I renew every year. Some, I can’t easily let go. Sure, I never will go back to running a Western DS106, but I love the quirkiness of what I poured into a course that never happened.
For now, keeping https://106tricks.net/.
My best of photo site? Still a viable concept considering I devised a WordPress structure where I can create an entry simply by uploading a photo, all the content is derived from the photo’s metadata.
Yes, keeping https://barkingdog.me/ even as the most recent one is April 2022, and I am maybe 4 months behind uploading to flickr.
And I doubt I will ever teach Networked Narratives again, but I am not ready to give up all stuff and history maybe a handful of people might care about. Again, keeping https://arganee.world if maybe for my own inside delight of were the domain name came from. And my clever bit (now old) for the top site in the WordPress multisite, full of random quotes coming in via one of the first bits of using the WordPress API.
But some domains can go, I guess. I have been keeping a collection of archived sites in my Web Bone Pile (technically a subdomain of my own), a mixture of archives of sites I let go, ones that others deleted for me after I left an organization (like my maricopa stuff), and more of sites that were deleted from the host (I have never forgiven you Wikispaces).
A few more are going into the bone pile.
Back in the heydey (or is it hayday?) of DoOO in September 2014, in celebrating the expansion of top level domains, Reclaim Hosting offered to give away a domain for the most clever one “Tweeted” (remember when that was a thing). Like the guy on the Community Chest card beaming of winning second prize in a beauty contest, I won, and got the free domain
I put together a quirky, obscure, amusing maybe only to Alan site, that did some duct tape PHP gymnastics with the Flickr API to every hour surface a photographer from flickr who lies at the opposite end of the bright lights of Flickr Explore, e.g the long tail of Interestingness. Reclaim Hosting paid for that for like 9 years, but looks like that free ticket expired as I got a notice to pony up for the domain renewal.
I was okay to let that one go, but it was easy just to add it to my bone pile, so I can still be amused when needed at https://bones.cogdogblog.com/dontlook/.
C’est la domain.
I had decided back in April, that after almost 20 years, since the code did not even work much any more, to let feed2js.org go quietly in the night of no auto renewal of the domain when it came up in June.
There was sadness, so much I had gotten out of a service at one time that ran on an Apple Xserve in my office at the Maricopa Community Colleges. It eventually found homes on services provided gratis first from Aaron Axelson (his domain is alive) and up to now by Brian Teller on a server I cannot access or update (nor can I contact Brian). And I have a wild story about Feed2JS and a meeting in a Dallas office building that I cannot ever reveal publicly, but maybe was the most profit I ever made on the web.
Since I could not even get Feed2JS to work on much anything, and of course saying RSS ends up generating the internet version of the smell of Bengay cream (despite the fact in still bloody works), I shrugged and was prepared and did let the domain lapse.
I set up a web gravestone at https://bones.cogdogblog.com/feed2js/.
Then this happened. A month after I let the feed2js org domain go, I got an email from Hover support (I register most of my domains at Hover.com)
Email from Hover Support
This is Hover support reaching out to you in regard to your domain feed2js.org.
We wanted to let you know that another user renewed this domain erroneously. The user thought they were purchasing the domain but instead renewed the domain.
At Hover, we allow renewals to occur without logging into the Hover account. This is especially useful for certain instances when the account holder cannot log in or has forgotten their login information. The other party used this feature for your domain and renewed the domain in error.
As we cannot clock back the renewal with the registry, please accept this renewal free of charge. We have refunded the other user for his error.
If I understand correctly, someone hoping to register the domain, which was available, goofed, and thus, I got the domain renewed for free.
What can I do with it? If my code chops where more clever, maybe I would find a suitable replacement for the dead MagpieRSS parser. Would that be worth it?
I have a long list of other sites that should be fixed. And as I cannot even access the place where it is being hosted (the nameserver is bat.net, the whoislookup suggests feed2js is at Acquia which is full of irony given my drupal aversions.
Now I could change my namehost and take back the domain… but to do what? I have a few months to decide.
So I have a domain back I tried to let go.
Ironically, I go a blog comment (now how old a relict is that), from someone asking about Feed2JS as they said a version of it was running at https://www.feedroll.com/rssviewer/
This site was very familiar looking!
Now while I could make a stink as my code is licensed GNU and Feedroll.com has it there with no credit, and also a copyright stamp in the footer… what will it get me to go after them? It’s even more ironic as they never changed the name of parts of the tool. Plus the top of their domain is some kind of online investing/cybercurrency gig.
And actually their copy of Feed2JS is as dead as mine. Part of me is curious to click the contact button…
With great delight, I am finding even when I want a domain, like a zombie, it won’t go away.
These are things I find both delightful, amusing, and still with that faint heart beat of the web mostly forgotten. Not everything has been trampled and gobbled by AI Monsters and the Big Five (or Four). The Fediverse says so, as does the Indieweb groups, and the many who labor under the hoods of Wikimedia.
I will keep clutching my own domains, even if no one really notices them.