A question in the WordPress forums about being unable to retrieve a previously deleted blog got me thinking. WordPress have been going for a few years now, in that time they’ve had several million blogs registered, with a certain percentage over that time either being deleted or abandoned. I don’t know the ratio of current active blogs compared to the overall figure.
As most know, and some have found out too late, a deleted name can not be resurrected. It is gone for good. It will not be available after any length of time for someone else to use. That URL is dead. This is the situation after a few years in business. What will the case be in 20 or 30 years time?
How long will it be before all the names people want are either in use, or dead. Each name is a series of words after all, how many have their first choice of words? Nowadays I’d guess, very few, unless they got in early when those words were available.
What’s in a name? It’s part of our identity, rightly or wrongly we are judged partially on it. If the URL has the words “herbal” and “viagra” in it, what do you think (judging by the name alone) that site is about? I’ve seen some great blog names on WordPress.com for all different reasons. The name gives you (the surfer) a hint of who we (the owner of and contributor to the site) are…….with that in mind, how many would accept a URL with a number in place, because all the decent names are unavailable? A user name is different, since that’s private…..the URL is public.
Those of us who have a Yahoo, AIM, GMail etc account know it can be a frustrating process to have every name we ask for returned as “unavailable”. Yahoo and GMail (if you arrive at the right sign up door) at least have a suggestion script, to give you free variations on the words you ask for.
The name I blog under is Dirk Gently. This is not a name I created, Dirk Gently is a character in the late Douglas Adams (the genius behind Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) “Dirk Gently” series of books. He has a cult following, and as such ID’s directly linked with references to his are unavailable. So the ID “DirkGently” is long gone, but “DirkGently332” is free. Personally I don’t like the whole numbers thing….but it’s an option.
A PM ID is a public face, linking to you….just as a URL is. So what does happen when the names run out? WordPress will have little option but to free up previously “dead” URL’s, unless they switch to a different URL naming strategy. Otherwise the growth will slow to a crawl. Of course this is a question for the future, but failing to think about it and plan for it will see WordPress in trouble due to it’s polices. This is not an issue exclusive to WordPress…it applies to ALL companies who practice the same “burning bridges” policy for security of ID theft.