I bought the domain name iannarino.com in 1996. I only used it for email. In 2007, when I bought www.thesalesblog.com, I let www.iannarino.com expire, believing that my last name was so unusual, and so difficult to spell, that it was essentially worthless.
Since then my traffic here has grown pretty steadily, mostly because I watch what Chris Brogan does, I call him and ask him to explain his decisions to me, and then I tell him I am going to steal his strategies and implement them exactly as he has done. Not to worry, his response is always the same, “Do it!”
Now I am working with some professionals to change some of what I am doing. They insisted that I go buy www.iannarino.com back from the company that owns it. They believe that because my last name is unusual, and because I have used it on the social sites for so long, that it is worth using.
I believed I would have to pay $11.99 to get it back. Who would want it? I couldn’t have been more wrong. I paid a shockingly high price to buy back my name.
There are companies that run an algorithm to find words and names that have some equity on the web. They buy up those names and charge a price based on what they believe the name commands on the open market.
I bought my name back for far more than I expected to. I complained to the people I am working with about how much I spent, and they told me to be thankful it wasn’t more. They’d seen worse.
If you don’t own your name, you probably should. If your name is common, you should still probably own some derivation of that name. If you are out here building a presence, you should own that presence instead of allowing one of the social media channels to own it. Not only do you want to be found, you want some control over what is found when people Google your name.
If you have children, you should buy their names, too.