doePlateHead

How I came to own Doe.com

Remember back when having an e-mail address was a novelty? Remember when there was no such thing as hash tags? Remember when domain names were free?

Wait, what? Domain names were free?

Back before the web took off it was possible to register any domain name you wanted, and it didn’t cost you a dime. Back then there were tons of domains available and there wasn’t the feeling of “all the good ones are taken.”

It was in “the good old days” when I worked at a start up that I spent a lot of time in NNTP forums testing the company’s BBS software. Back then it was commonplace for software to use “john@doe.com” as the default email address and just as common for people to put john@doe.com in as their email address if they wanted to be a bit anonymous.

Day in and day out while doing my job I would see “john@doe.com” (and even an occasional “jane”). One day, out of curiosity, I decided to see who owned doe.com and got to be THE john@doe.com.

As luck would have it, no one had registered doe.com, so I did. It started as a nerdy fascination… I was, in my own mind, an unknown, unrecognized celebrity of the internet. I got to be the one and only john@doe.com. I configured the email account and would, periodically, reply to people’s email messages. It was fun to get the surprised response: “You’re real? Someone owns this email address?”

Racing Volvo
Hauling the Doe.com Volvo through turn 3 at Thunder Hill

Alas, all fun must end. The internet took hold and number of citizens has been steadily climbing. Between internet population explosion and the rise of spam, the john@doe.com email address became unusable.

Race Volvo
A roomy, comfortable race instruction vehicle

It’s not all sadness. While I no longer can have the fun of being the only John Doe on the net, I do still get a surprising amount of traffic to doe.com. Doe.com has become a part of me, part of my identity. Doe.com even adorns the plates of my racing Volvo (it’s comfortable and I’m available as a driving instructor).

Racing Volvo
Showing an Alfa and a Vette how it’s done

Most people who come ask if the domain is for sale. The answer: yes. Before you get all excited and bust open your piggy bank, keep this in mind: it’s a 3-letter, easy to spell, dot-com domain name. Offer me $100,000 and I’ll sell in a second. Offer me $60,000 and we’ll talk. Offer any less and I’ll likely just ignore you.

Think about it like this: doe.com is like a classic car to me. It has value partially because of what it is, but it mostly has value to me because of the time I’ve spent with it. I have an emotional connection to the domain name and it’s hard to reason with emotion.

Home of john@doe.com