Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 08:03:54 -0400
From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 12 May 1998 - Vanity Plates

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           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Vanity Plates

Today's Tourbus will delve into the topic of Internet domain names.
Should you have your own address?  Read on to learn
why you might want to get your very own Internet "vanity plate"

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If you run any sort of business, you really should have your own
domain name.  People who put business pages on the freebie sites like
Tripod or Geocities, or those who use personal ISP accounts will
suffer from a lack of credibility.  Which address would you pick if
you wanted to shop for shoes on the web?

Having your own domain puts you on a level playing field with the big
dogs, and makes the statement that you should be taken seriously.
And there's also your e-mail address to think about.

When you got your first e-mail address, you probably didn't consider
what would happen if you ever had to change it.  In addition to
telling everyone your new address, it can mess up your mailing list
subscriptions.  Here are some reasons why you might be faced with the
problem of having your e-mail address changed:

  1) If your Internet service provider is bought out or goes out of
     business, you might have to change your e-mail address.
  2) If your company or school changes their e-mail server software, your
     e-mail address could change.
  3) You might graduate from college (Patrick's mother suggested that) or
     move, or change jobs.

Or you just might not like your address.  Some people have awful
addresses like
getting one of those on your business card!

Using a mail forwarding service like POBOX.COM or USA.NET is one
possible solution, but who's to know whether they'll stay in business
for 5 years?  Getting a personal domain name is one way to insulate
yourself from this problem.  It's permanent, and you can take it with
you wherever you go.


The old song says "all of the good ones are taken", but that's not
necessarily true for domain names.  True, most common words, acronyms
and surnames have probably been snapped up, but a little creativity
can help you find a good domain name.  To do your research, visit

   The WHOIS Database - 

where you can check to see if a domain is in use.  For example, I
checked RANKIN.COM and found that I missed the boat by five years.
It was registered to Rankin Technology Group in 1993 - drats!  It
turns out that RANKIN.NET and RANKIN.ORG are long gone too.

Since the WHOIS database contains the name, address and phone number
of the domain owner, you can always make an offer to purchase one
even if it's already in use.  An established business might be loathe
to part with their domain for less than a king's ransom, but if you
visit the site and find that it's not really being used, the owner
might part with it for a few hundred dollars or less.


Registering a new domain is not difficult, and you don't have to
operate your own server.  Most domains are in fact "virtual domains",
hosted by a service provider on their equipment.  It costs only $35
to register your very own domain, but you do have to pay for the
first two years in advance, which means a layout of $70.  The domain
registration process involves these basic steps:

  1) Choosing a domain name
  2) Finding an ISP to host your domain
  3) Filling out the online domain registration form
  4) Confirming the registration by e-mail

We've already covered the first step.  To find a host for your
domain, first check with your ISP.  Most will do so for a reasonable
fee.  You'll probably incur a setup charge of $50 - $100 and a
monthly fee of $5 - $30, depending on how much disk space you need.
If your ISP doesn't offer a good deal, try a hosting service such as
SimpleNet - - or search for "web hosting"
with your favorite search engine.

The online registration form and related help files can be found here:

  InterNIC Registration - 

The only tricky part is the Name Server Information area on the form.
You'll have to consult your ISP or hosting service to fill these out.
After you submit the form, you'll get a copy in your e-mail, which
you simply forward to the specified processing address.  Depending on
the prevailing winds, your domain could be active within hours or
days.  You'll get an invoice in the mail for $70, which you must pay
within a month, or lose the domain.


Once your domain is registered and your ISP completes the setup,
you're ready to roll.  Use an FTP program such as CuteFTP (my
favorite) to transfer your website files to the directory your ISP
has associated with the domain name, and you're done.  If you don't
have an FTP program, visit

  Consummate Winsock Apps -          -OR-


where you can check out & download several different FTP programs.
That's enough for today, see you next time!  --Bob

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