Columnist Keith Collins can’t catch a break when it comes to the Web.
Someone has been stealing my online thunder since the mid ‘90s. My name, Keith Collins, is not that common, but every time I go to setup a new e-mail account or register to a Web site, the other Keith Collins has already beaten me to the punch. This jerk is everywhere. He is the reason my Gmail name ends in a goshdarn “01.” He is apparently even here at Temple and registered his TUmail alias long before I could. When I found he had taken my name on Twitter, and therefore stolen my birthright to my own special Twitter URL, I was ready to flip out.
This frustration all started years ago, when I attempted to register for my own Web site domain name. The domain, keithcollins.com, was of course taken and I’ll give you one guess by whom – that’s right – Keith Collins.
I e-mailed Keith Collins, politely introducing myself and noting that his Web site, keithcollins.com, had nothing on it but an “under construction” notice. I then made a generous offer to purchase the name back from him. It went something like:
Dear Keith Collins,
My name is Keith Collins. Your Web site at keithcollins.com has nothing on it. How does $40 sound?
He responded days later, saying he had a “large global networking project” in the works for the site. Seriously, he said that. He let me know he had just canceled his AOL account and that the Keith Collins screen name at AOL was now available.
For years, I went through a series of domain names I was never happy with and have ended up with keithcollins.net, which is great, because it implies that I am some kind of provider for Internet service. Now, it isn’t important that my Web site simply redirects to my Blogger page, which I no longer update. What’s important is that another Keith Collins has stolen my potential for a digital life.
When I first corresponded with Mr. Collins, he apparently had big plans for my name that failed miserably. If he wants to gallivant around the World Wide Web using my name, he should at least do something cool with his site. But all he’s done is stolen my thunder and flooded my awesomeness out of the first page of Google results.
And, after all these years, he has still done absolutely nothing with keithcollins.com.
Keith Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.