I made a mistake a few weeks ago.
I need to back up a bit and explain something. I hate advertising. I think it’s the devil’s own backyard. Don’t get me wrong: There’s nothing wrong with hawking one’s wares; if somebody wants a widget and nobody knows you can make that widget, that’s not much help to anyone. But what I hate about advertising in this day and age is that it’s not so much about connecting buyer with seller as it is about brainwashing folks into buying things, even when more often than not they don’t want those things (but don’t yet realise it).
How many times have you bought something to make you feel happy (or, just better) and found that six weeks later the thing you bought still makes you feel better? I’m guessing ‘never’… am I right?
The advertising industry is worth megabucks. Make that ‘terabucks’. Why is that? It’s because the advertisers can get us to part with our hard-earned cash to buy things that we can easily do without. And they do it largely through underhanded techniques; persuading us that ownership of this widget or that can make us more appealing to the opposite sex, or will enhance some other aspect of our otherwise humdrum lives. And they do it with repetition, repetition, repetition. Television adverts, for instance, don’t just inform us of what’s available: they brainwash us through constant repeats of the same thing over and over, until all that’s required is the jingle to get us to remember what is being sold (can you hear the sound of Intel in your head?).
Of course they deny that’s what they’re doing. And we buy into this, too… most people believe that they’re immune to the kind of advertising I’m talking about, it only works on the other fellah, right? If that’s true, why is it that the advertising industry is worth terabucks?
… Sorry about that: my tangent went further adrift than I thought it would. The point is that I hate advertising, with a passion. So back when I had a ‘free’ WordPress website, I was very conscious of the fact that I was subjecting my visitors to adverts (and I had no idea what those adverts were pushing). So one day, I decided to bite the bullet and cough up for a WordPress ‘personal plan’, one that would guarantee no more adverts for my poor visitors (you).
Here’s where the mistake I made comes into it…
Hmm… I see that I need to back up a little bit again.
I’ve had this blog since 2007. That’s a long time, in Internet terms. I don’t know of many blogs that have lasted that long. In fact a lot of the blogs I used to connect with have tumbleweeds running through them now; very few are still active. But the blogs are still there. Take Dwight Towers, for instance. The last post there was almost four years ago, in November 2014. And yet the site is still accessible, as dwighttowers.wordpress.com.
Here’s another example: David Robertson has a website at https://davidpj.wordpress.com, another site that’s still accessible. However, David’s old blog points to a ‘new home’ at http://www.david-robertson.net/ — but that domain appears to be as dead as the proverbial dodo :( — I’ve been in touch with him, and he tells me that his latest blog is at https://davidrsci.wixsite.com/hellodavid — though that one’s in the doldrums, too….
From 2007 until very recently, my own blog here, Wibble, was addressable as pendantry.wordpress.com. It still is: but, until recently, that address translated to wibble.blog — because I got suckered into the ‘free’ offer of my own web domain, included in the price of my WordPress ‘personal plan’. And ‘wibble.blog’ was just too good to pass up.
The problem is that if ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ translates to ‘wibble.blog’ then many (not all) of the automatic links that WordPress creates would be to ‘wibble.blog’, not to ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ (comment links, for instance, would be to ‘wibble.blog’).
So (finally) this is where my mistake factors into the equation. I would have to keep paying for the personal plan every year, or the wibble.blog domain name will stop working (or, worse, be bought up by some pr0n dealer). Were I to revert to a ‘free’ plan (the one that inflicts adverts on you good folks) this would mean that a lot of the links to my website (those I’ve crafted using ‘wibble.blog’ rather than ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’) would just stop working.
And of course, there’s one point at which ‘wibble.blog’ will cease to be paid for by me: and that’s after I’m dead (!).
Now that I realise this, I’m going to make sure that I use ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ when linking to my site in future.
The big problem (since I, naturally, want my words to live forever — or at least, as long as possible) is that social media doesn’t recognise death.* When I’m dead, nobody’s going to pay for the upkeep of the domain name ‘wibble.blog’. And that’s why I’ve reconfigured my site so that ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ (the ‘free’ domain) is the main address of my site, and ‘wibble.blog’ is just an alternative.
“What’s the solution?” I hear Paul Handover asking me, as is his wont. I’m not sure there is one. The Internet is still too young; the designers didn’t think far enough ahead to cater for linkrot-caused-by-death-of-the-one-paying-for-a-domain-name.
The moral of this story? If you’ve got a ‘free’ WordPress plan, your words can live forever (well, as long as WordPress continues, anyway). If you’ve bought into having your own domain name, if you actually use that name, your words may disappear along with you when you go….
* I had to manually change the ‘wibble.blog’ in that link to ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ :(