Annoucements & Updates
How I Lost My Site: An Internet Horror Story
I registered my name as a domain name in 2011 in an act of hubris and the effectiveness of "fear of loss." At the time, Google would give me my domain for $10 per year, with that renewal rate locked in. It would renew automatically, so I never once thought about it. Of course, then my credit card expired, and I forgot to update it. Since, I am not yet tearing up the world of writing and publishing as I might have hoped when I was but a wee writer pecking away at the keys of a Remington typewriter, it shouldn't have been an issue. Yet, when I went to my homepage to log in, I was greeted with a wall of text in Chinese characters that, if Google translate is to be trusted, advertised some sort of lottery scam. I was livid, especially since I thought this poaching of my site name fell under the auspices of domain-squatting. My only recourse, other than paying someone $100 to tell me I needed to pay the site owners some ransom to get it back, was to wait.
The reason my site was a hot commodity had little to do with my work or even my name. It was because I chose to put some literary papers I'd written and was fairly proud of up on the interwebs. There was no market for these works, but I knew that there was often little else on the internet for people writing about these specific works to find, outside of the various Cliff-Notes-alikes online. The other reason I did it was because I got a kick out of thinking that somewhere out there high school and college kids were citing my silly website. I got an even bigger kick out of the idea that one of my former professors at the University of Pittsburgh would read a student's paper, only to find their students citing me, one of their former students like an academic ouroboros. This plan, unfortunately, worked too well.
By the end of the first year in which I posted those papers, they brought in over 10,000 visitors. It maintained that pace for a few years where it shot over 20,000. So, the domain name vultures who poached my site thought they were buying a site that brought in tens of thousands of visitors on my name alone. Psych! Without my little papers on Pamela, or Virture Rewarded, "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather, and others, the traffic likely plummeted. It took two years, but eventually, the poachers decided it wasn't worth the cost to renew. Now, to build it back up again.
Joshua M. Patton - August 8, 2022
Since I last used Google Sites to maintain my personal website here (with as little cost as possible) they changed the way things work. The functionality is even more limited than before. Yet, the biggest surprise is that there is no longer a way to easily post "blogs" to the site. Truth be told, on my last site I barely added to the blog, yet it does have its purposes. To that end, I think there might be a way to do this, but continually adding new "text boxes" to the top of the page. Who knows? Either way, I'm just thankful to have "JoshuaMPatton.com" back in my control.
Joshua M. Patton - August 7, 2022