I couldn’t agree more with the premise behind services like About.me and Flavors.me: if you spend a lot of time online for work, play, and your sparetime projects, you want a one-pager which explains who you are, what you do, and where to find you regarding those different contexts. A nameplate site is a great way to do this, which is why I’ve kept up ginatrapani.org for over six years. Since I’ve always linked to it from every single thing I do online, it’s the first search result for my name. (Sorry, other Gina Trapani’s). Social networks like Twitter and Facebook and services like About.me and Flavors.me and LinkedIn come and go, but when you host your nameplate site (and blog) on a domain you control, it doesn’t change, you never lose Google juice, and there’s never a question about the canonical web page which identifies you.
Thanks for this post, Gina – I recently changed my personal .com domain to redirect to my Posterous site, and have since noticed a drop in my Google ranking, so I may do as you suggest and set up a nameplate site on my own domain.
Also, another option, if you want the simplicity of about.me or flavors.me, would be to set up a custom domain with them. You can then carry on linking to your personal domain and remain free to change services when you want to. Flavors.me offers this facility for premium users ($20/year) and about.me also say they plan to.
Gina, you’re spot on with your advice. Any person, organisation or company should have complete control over their web address. You should be able to own it, use it the way you want and move it if necessary. This can only be achieved by owning a domain name.
We’ve got a list of some personal profile services in our iWantMyName marketplace which might be interesting:
Hopefully, About.me will add custom domain functionality soon. As far as I know it’s on their roadmap.
Great advice. I have maintained my own nameplate site for several years and recommend it for everyone (even if you don’t think you need it right now). I am fortunate that my full name appears to be unique, so I had no problem acquiring it. But I wonder what the Smiths and Johnsons out there do when their domain name is already taken. There are only so many ways to customize a common name (like with a middle initial) before it starts to look complicated.
I know it may seem extreme now, but when I pick out my kid’s name it will have to be relatively unique (no Google collisions), and I will have to be able to buy the domain for it.
I agree, but I have a question about your opinion of .org versus .info or other suffixes. If you didn’t know the person, would your opinion be higher of someone who uses .net, .info, or .org? One advantage of an about.me (which I have not set up due to reservations for which you have described) is that everyone accepts it as a even playing field. These domain suffixes get some people worked up.
@Brad: .COM domains might be king but there are lots of people using other suffixes, especially country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). For example, Firstname-Lastname.de is the preferred option in Germany.
The problem with about.me/username (or facebook.com/username) is that you do not own the domain name. If they have an issue or you want to switch from about.me to another service you cannot simply migrate your web address.
Also, see the following article “Your Username Does Not Belong To You” which describes it in more detail:
Gina, you are right. Not everyone needs a one-page nameplate page though. I have my own domain and my blog is there and also pages that describe who I am, where to find me and how to get in touch with me.
So… I do not have a ‘one-page’ that tells all, but I have integrated it into my blog. If the visitors that look for you are very diverse (e.g. some might be looking for pictures from you, others want only your twitter address), a one-page nameplate is very useful.
About the fact you should own it yourself I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I use User Access Manager (UAM) on WordPress and have my family and friends look for stuff on my own self-hosted blog and only send links out to twitter, facebook and other social networks. I don’t trust the social networks to take care of my data, nor do I have any idea if they will be still in business in a few years. My own blog is likely to stay, I have total control and with UAM I can actually create stuff only for close family, broader range of friends or public (everyone).