I suspected pretty early on that the domain name I chose for this website could be problematic which I documented in an earlier post shortly after launching the site. In the three or so years OpenSourceHack has been around, I hadn’t seen any negative effects that I could directly relate to my domain name decision. Sure, I’ve experienced a number of rejections along the way, but nobody had ever come right out and said it was because of my domain name.
As this websites traffic has grown, I’ve been constantly on the look out for various ways to monetize it, so at times I’ll selectively sign up with a new affiliate marketing program. In the past few months I’ve had two affiliate companies deny my access to their programs based on the assumption that my site is about hacking.
The first incident happened a couple months back and this second denial occurred just this past week. Both issues were resolved with a simple email explanation on my part, but it’s unfortunate (and a bit of a bummer) that I’m being judged by my domain name alone. I’ve even gone so far as to scrap a post I was writing about Windows password reset tools which I use on occasion in my system admin role. And before anyone says it, I do understand I’m probably not helping myself by writing a post containing a bunch of keywords that are not typically related to the content of this site. I’m sure the surrounding contextual ads will aid in the misrepresentation as well.
I don’t expect my troubles to stop here, but I will be keeping my canned defense response handy for future situations. If I can leave you with one simple piece of advice, it’s to make absolutely certain that your domain name does not contain any word or phrase that can be misconstrued. OpenSourceHack is a prime example of what can happen when you select a word in your domain with more than one meaning, and one of them is not looked upon positively.
Don’t make it difficult for yourself. Think ahead. Can you foresee needing the help of others (ad networks, affiliate programs, inclusion in site/blog directories, etc.) If your family surname is Warez, just accept that you’ll only be ostracized by selecting a domain name with that in it and pick something a little less controversial.