Story Sent in by Will:
I live in San Jose, and not long ago, I met Arlene. She was a lawyer who also styled herself, apparently, a life coach. When we sat down together at a cafe on our first date, her first statement was, "All right. Let's get your life in order: do you have your own Internet domain?"
I replied, "I had a Geocities site for a while."
She slapped her hand to her mouth, as if I had just delivered the most shocking news of her life. She said, "I actually just bit my finger, right here, right now. Are you, like, from the 70s?"
"They had Geocities in the 70s?"
"Yeah. No, you at least need your name as a domain, to market yourself."
My name is pretty common, so I had never tried to acquire it as a domain. I figured that it was long gone. She said, "Do you have a smartphone?"
We hadn't even ordered our lunch yet, and she was putting on the sales pitch. I did have a smartphone, and I pulled it out. She instructed me to look up my name .com. As I had suspected, it was taken. She then ordered me to look it up .net, .co.uk, and so on. Taken, taken, taken, taken. I was looking forward to talking about other things.
She said, "Then I think it's time for plan B. We go to the source and make them give you your name."
She said, "Yahoo."
Yahoo HQ, as you may or may not know, is a hop, skip, and a jump from San Jose. I didn't realize that they were in the habit of giving people their own domain names if asked, but Arlene was adamant. "After we're done here," she said, "I promise we'll get you what you want."
I didn't really want it, but I had nothing planned for the rest of the day, and I kind of wanted to see what "magic" Arlene was planning to unleash upon those unsuspecting souls at Yahoo.
The rest of lunch was all about how I needed to establish an online presence, how I had to join message board communities to make contacts, and join web seminar groups... or something like that. I wasn't really too interested. She summed up her rambling arguments with, "But it really starts and ends with your own name as a website."
After lunch, I followed her the 30 minutes or so to Yahoo. We parked in two open spots in the parking lot (whether or not they were reserved for employees, I had no idea, but they probably were) and we walked right in to Yahoo headquarters. Arlene led me to a desk with an attendant in front of a wall-mounted Yahoo logo, and Arlene said, "We're here to see the president. I'm Attorney Arlene Watkins."
The attendant asked, "Do you happen to know the name of the president?"
I didn't see Arlene's face for the following sentence, as I was behind her, but I assume it was said straight, without a trace of humor. I wish I could've seen it. Arlene said, "President President. Can we see him?"
The attendant said, "The president is a she."
Arlene groaned and I followed her back out to the parking lot. Once we were there, she extended a hand to me and said, "I guess the journey ends. It was nice to meet you."
I reflected the sentiment, and we went our separate ways, right there in the Yahoo parking lot. I hadn't done anything that day to increase my online presence, for what it was worth, but I felt a bit wiser, perhaps, from the experience.
Story Sent in by Will: