Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's in a Name?

Update: This blog used to be hosted at but I have since sold that domain name. However, this post is still a fun bit of nostalgia.

Some of you might be wondering, how did I manage to get a domain name like “”. Well, it was actually surprisingly easy, if you were trying to get it around 10 years ago. And a little convoluted.

When the .ca top-level-domain first became generally available, they were very strict about who could get name, and even about where in the domain hierarchy your name could be. First of all, you had to be a Canadian organization (registered with the appropriate authority) or individual. Only “large” “nationally based” Canadian businesses and organizations were permitted to obtain the top-tier names such as “”, while provincially based organizations could get names like “” or “”. Individuals were way down on the totem pole; I registered “” for around $10.

This system was designed to match the use originally intended use of the DNS - as a hierarchical naming authority. Not to say that there isn't any hierarchy in the DNS system now, I just don't think it is what the originators of the system were expecting. What was interesting is that, by purchasing, I reserved the host name “chris” throughout the whole system. No one could purchase, or After a few years as the actual use of the DNS became clear – top-tier names for everyone! - CIRA decided to let everyone trade in their n-th tier names for the top-tier names that had been reserved all along.

I used the name for a small personal site back when I was in university, and have just been holding on to it for sentimentality's sake for the past 6 years. I've received lots of offers to buy it, mostly from geeks named Chris who value it for it's geek cred (such as myself). But I held out... and now here I am blogging on it.

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