This week I agreed to relinquish my original domain name, editors.com. The new owner says he will use the domain to establish a site for editors and writers to commiserate. Oddly, I don’t care much how he uses the domain. When I acquired editors.com in August 1995, I had in mind to create some kind of writing site. Instead, the domain established a single e-mail identity that hadn’t changed for almost nine years.
Relinquishing a domain used primarily for e-mail is lots of work. Besides notifying a couple thousand people of the change, I have to track down every website I ever established a log-in or purchase account and change the identity or default e-mail address—many cases they’re the same.
I know nothing about the domain’s new owner. What if he turned out to be unscrupulous? With the domain, he could use my original e-mail identity to retrieve passwords, access accounts, and even make purchases for sites where credit card information is stored.
As I practice, I don’t like to let merchants permanently store credit card information and recommend that other folks take a similar precaution. I also am using the account changes to put in place new passwords everywhere.
Giving up the domain and my longstanding Web identity feels strange, yet liberating. My wife likened transferring the domain to selling a domicile. To the new owner of editors.com, I hope you do better with the domain than I did. Good luck.