WordPress: Stop Sub-domain Squatting

Last year I convinced my wife to start blogging her experiences as the mother of a child with Aspergers.  She is a very private person so getting her to agree to this was no small task so, when she finally did agree, I immediately set to work finding a suitable space for her.

Deciding to use WordPress was a no-brainer.  But finding a suitable sub-domain name (e.g. ???.wordpress.com) proved much more a challenge because  all the great sub-domains where already taken!

I wouldn’t mind if these sub-domains were occupied with people writing interesting blog posts.  In fact, I wouldn’t even mind if those places had one decent blog post on them.  The sad fact is that most of great names have nothing at all, just the initial “Hello World” post that you get when you first set up a site.

Don’t believe me?  Try it out.  Go to your browser address bar, pick an interesting word and follow it with .wordpress.com.  To save you some time here is my experiment with this:

Any random word will do – Hair, Smoke, Toon – it doesn’t matter, the results are almost always the same.

I reached out to the WordPress people about this a while back and they sent me a nice note with this link in it which basically says “we don’t recycle blog names”.

This is prime web real estate that is just being squandered. Somewhere out there is someone with a great idea, a passion to write, and they are stuck in the electronic backwaters with a name like poop.wordpress.com.  Actually, scratch that, I just checked it and that one has a “Hello World” post too.

Come on WordPress people – let’s fix this! I love you guys, I really do.  A rock-solid platform, awesome open source software, fantastic templates and a price that just can’t be beat.  But this lack of great blogging names must stop some people from picking up their blogging ‘pen’ or, at the very least, sending them to some other platform.

Working on the theory that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness I’m going to make a proposal that I hope you will agree with.  Change the WordPress policies around domain name recycling.

My rule is simple, but still gives people enough time for their creative mojo to materialize.  Here it is:

If your sub-domain has nothing more than the initial post one year after being registered, you lose it and it goes back into the general pool.

That’s it!  Nothing complicated and very easy to enforce.  I’m sure there will be all sorts of exceptions, but that one rule alone will put some amazing sub-domain real-estate back into circulation.

If you agree with this then click the Like button or pass it along to others, and let’s see if we can get away from blog names like abc123.wordpress.com.   Oh…hold on…that one has a “Hello world” post too…



Filed under Technology

8 responses to “WordPress: Stop Sub-domain Squatting

  1. I could go for the poop sub-domain. “Poop” happens to be #1 in my tag cloud.

    • Try as I might, I just can’t conceive how poop could be your #1 tag :). I’ll have to drop by when I get home to try to make sense of that one!

      • Sorry. My comment was a bit of a jack. I do see your point about squatting and I think you have a good idea for reclaiming sub-domains when they are clearly not being used.

        It my case my username and my sub-domain are two different things. I went ahead and “squatted” my username, too. I use the squatted blog space to redirect visitors to my real URL just in case there might be any confusion. Who knows? I might end up using that blog space for something super-important some day, too.

        The “poop” thing was quite by accident, I assure you. 🙂

  2. I signed up as “writerwoman61” not knowing that I was naming my domain…for non-techies, it’s not very clear. The name of my blog is “Herding Cats in Hammond River.”

    I agree with you that WordPress needs to do some housecleaning…if you don’t post for x amount of time, you should lose your space, or it should be put in a special “Archive Section.”


    • Since I am in technology I think I had the advantage of knowing what it meant. Interesting real name for your blog BTW…I’ve done my fair share of herding cats. 🙂

      If people stop blogging I wouldn’t really like for their blog to disappear- but I like the idea of an archive.

  3. ox

    You don’t understand. The reason Automattic won’t delete names is that their usage statistics would suffer. They publish the number of bloggers on the home page.

    Investors wouldn’t like it.

    • You could be right. But that assumes that investors aren’t intelligent enough to know that this is going on.

      Ultimately I would have thought that page impressions would have been more meaningful, which is more likely to occur if real bloggers (ones that actually post something) have names that mean something.

  4. Pingback: Do You Want This Subdomain? « Creative Ideas

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