Why would one get such a silly URL?

For me, the biggest problem was that waleedkhan.com was taken! It’s not a very common name in the US, but I understand it’s reasonably common in Asia. Additionally, having a memorable TLD can help with branding, as I discuss below.

One of the problems with the new TLDs (such as .ninja or .coffee) is that the average consumer may not even realize that a given address refers to a URL! As you see, my website’s URL is a .name address, and consequently so is my email address. Whether or not it’s okay depends on your audience.

When it’s a pain

People may think it’s a mistake

Once, when booking travel for an interview, the travel agent asked me to confirm my email address as a matter of course. Upon reading it aloud, they said something like “me@waleedkhan.name? That can’t be right…” to which I had to respond that it was in fact correct.

Having an unusual email address may raise flags, but for the most part I imagine that it’s fairly benign.

Computers may think it’s a mistake

I got this frustrating error from American Airlines recently, which is actually what motivated this post:

American Airlines refusing my perfectly good .name email address when trying to check out.

American Airlines refusing my perfectly good .name email address when trying to check out.

Now, .name isn’t one of the “new” TLDs: it’s existed since 2001, so it’s pretty disappointing that it still isn’t supported in 2016. It used to be that one could enumerate all of the currently active TLDs and put them all into one great big regex to attempt validation. It was dubious back then at best, and nowadays is considered completely wrong.

Somebody else can get your more desirable URL

In my case, somebody else already had waleedkhan.com, so it wasn’t something I could have prevented. I’ve been trying to reclaim my name’s spot in Google’s search rankings lately, but other people’s blogs and news posts take up a good bit of the first few results (at the time of this writing).

To avoid this, it’s probably worth getting the traditional form of the URL on top of your desired URL as insurance. Additionally, you can set up your email to work with both domains, in case you encounter a system that doesn’t accept your preferred email address.

When it works out

Certain custom websites

I run a website to draft Magic: the Gathering online. On this website, players construct decks by passing around virtual booster packs. Then, they export the decks to an unrelated desktop program and play using that. The website’s URL is drafts.ninja.

In this case, I don’t believe that it’s been a problem to have an unusual URL. The target audience is already reasonably tech-savvy, as they had to set up a desktop client on their own. The typical age is likely to be on the younger end. Thus, they are likely to understand that new, weird TLDs exist.

Branding

An interviewer once commented on my email address. If one is trying to build up a brand as a software developer, then the target audience is other software developers, who will more likely understand, appreciate, and remember the URL.

In this case, I happened to be talking to the person in charge of the Google Domains team (which, incidentally, can be visited at https://domains.google). I like to think that the encounter formed a positive impression of me!

I don’t think my URL was a mistake

Overall, the harm done has been relatively minor — I do have a regular email address to sign up for services with, after all. My intention in getting this domain was for branding purposes. Given that it’s been remarked upon at least once to my face, I think that my goal has been achieved. But I’ll be on the look-out for waleedkhan.com, when it becomes available…