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Digital Name Management: Own Your Name Space

As of October 3, 2016, you can no longer use shared links to render HTML content in a web browser. If you created a website that directly displays HTML content from your Dropbox, it will no longer render in the browser. — Dropbox, Inc.

Take ownership of your digital names. That's the lesson of Dropbox's recent announcement and subsequent uproar.

I own viarob.com. This is true legal ownership. I can move viarob.com to any service I like. I can control what links are public. It's mine, all mine, to do with as I please.

I don't own https://about.me/robnagler. I did claim it, but I don't put anything there. It just refers back to viarob.com. If about.me were to disappear tomorrow, my digital identity would be intact, and all my digital assets on viarob.com would still be accessible by known URLs that I've given.

I don't own my Twitter handle, my Google Mail address, or my Facebook page link. I don't care about Twitter and Facebook, but email is my major form of communication so I never give out my gmail address. I use an email address of a domain name that I own and redirect all email from that domain to my gmail account. It gives me control over my digital identity and assets. I also back up all my email to a server that I control so that if Google decides to extort me some day, I can move to another email service easily.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. all have the right to my name, not me. They can take it away in a blink of an eye, and there's nothing I can do about it. Users have no legal recourse. Consider this:

Hundreds of Google users have lost access to their accounts -- including access to Gmail, photos and documents stored in Google's cloud -- for allegedly violating Google's terms of service by re-selling Pixel phones.

Google had every right to do this, and you have no legal recourse. Moreover, if these users relied on Gmail (or Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as their OAuth login credentials for other sites, they would be even more screwed.

Do not be at the mercy and whim of other people's digital name management: Own Your Name Space. Get a personal domain name you can use for email addresses. It's very easy. I use Namecheap, but most any domain name service provider will do. Just make sure the service provides an email service, too. This has the added advantage of allowing you to use a different email address for every web site to protect your digital assets even more.

Via Rob 12/17/2016