On Ma.tt

A few weeks ago I twittered I was heading to the bank to wire money for a life change. People got excited, and assumed I was buying a house, fancy car, plane, company, jewelry… it was really amusing to see where people’s imagination went. I’m afraid the truth is much less exciting, at least to other people. I was wiring money for the domain I’m on now, ma.tt. How did this come to be?

Around the beginning of the year I was going through a spreadsheet for international domains, listing all the different countries, and I spotted .tt. I noticed they did the top-level thing, not .co.tt or something lame like that, and I wandered over to the 90s-era NIC site for Trinidad and Tobago. I did a search for “ma.tt” and was utterly shocked that it was unregistered!

Now I’ve been at photomatt.net for 6+ years now, but quite honestly the .net threw people off. I can’t tell you how many times media coverage has misspelled my domain name, usually with .org or .com. The .org guy was a little wacky, but eventually he let the domain expire and I picked it up. But the .com guy was a little more damaging — he had a somewhat active and well-designed site, it just focused mostly on pictures of harajaku (sp?) girls. People assumed this was me and I had a weird Asian fetish. No matter how many times I contacted him, he never got back to me about a price for the domain, or a mutual link, anything. I had also thought about something like matt.com, but I think that’d be way too expensive. It became more obvious that photomatt.net probably wasn’t going to be a domain name for the ages.

Back to ma.tt, it was unregistered but to register a domain in Trinidad/Tobago you have to do an international wire to their bank, they don’t accept credit cards, and the cost is 500/yr for the first 2 years. (Which is probably why you don’t see too many.) The cost is much higher than an unregistered .com, but you can easily spend 1-10k on a good .com and this was way cooler, so the price seemed reasonable. It’s a 5-character domain, the same length as a single-letter .com. So about two weeks ago I went to the bank, wired the money to their foreign account and then… didn’t hear anything for a week. At first I wondered if I had been scammed 419-style, but then I got an email from their admin that everything was set up. πŸ™‚

I originally wanted to launch the new domain with a new design, but knowing that yesterday’s post would get a ton of links it seemed like an opportune time to make the jump. Switching over took 2 seconds, I just updated my siteurl and home options in WordPress, and I shortened my permalink structure to remove the day, and it started magically redirecting all my old links to the new ones.

If you can, don’t forget to update your blogroll links, though old ones will continue to work forever. Not everyone would consider moving domains a “life change,” but it is to me. I’m looking forward to many, many years at ma.tt.

115 thoughts on “On Ma.tt

  1. Very cool domain Matt. Now you just have to hope Google doesn’t do anything strange, so that you can keep “Most popular Matt in the world, according to Google”. πŸ˜›

    I was thinking on grabbing chr.is a while back, but soon after I saw it as available, it got registered. πŸ™

  2. Congrats on one of the shortest domain names ever. A hefty price that I as a normal person would think was expensive but when you put things into perspective and check out the salary, it’s not that bad. I wonder if there is a .ff domain so I can buy je.ff lol

  3. Cool domain, didn’t notice it till you pointed it out. Now I’m checking the TLD list.

    Search Engines are going to hate you if you’re not 301 Permanent Redirecting your existing content, submit an updated XML sitemap for good measure to the giants. Redirection (http://urbangiraffe.com/plugins/redirection/) is pretty much the coolest way to manage any broken links if/when they occur!

  4. So that’s how you did it. Anyways, it’s good that Trinidad and Tobago didn’t require .tt domain registrants to be individuals, institutions or organizations that are based in their country. Congratulations on your new domain! πŸ™‚

  5. Very cool/geeky (or are they the same thing nowadays?)

    Quick question: why not use mullenweg.com? Hard to spell? It’s already your email address, so I doubt that’s the reason. Or is it to preserve the current incarnation of mullenweg.com (or, more precisely, not wishing to incur the wrath of your sister for usurping the family tree site with your personal blog)?

  6. Might as well change your real name to include the “.” too, just to complete the branding exercise!

    I have to say though, you had me looking for the .il TLD to get myself ph.il. Turns out it’s israel and they only do versions with second level domains in. Finally, I looked for .sh so that I could make up my last name Nash. .sh exists, no idea what it’s for, but 2 letter domains weren’t available. πŸ™

    So a great idea that was so tempting it wasted half an hour of my lunchbreak! I hope you enjoy the new name!

    (Dammit, just spent another 10 minutes looking at other TLDs and seeing what I could get, apparently Libya charge $149 for a year of owning a .ly extension, crazy!)

  7. That’s a fantastic URL, Matt!

    I’ve switched domains too many times over the years, so I imagine it feels wonderful to invest in a domain that you will keep for good.

    Do you think the lack of a recognizable .com/net/org will confuse the average person, or is it working out well so far?

  8. What a smart idea, never thought about that! Even though others like del.icio.us have used a similar idea to great effect. I just sent my request over now. Very cool to have such a short and original domain name. Well done, and congrats on the funding – can’t wait to see all the new goodies you have in store for the company.

  9. OOH you lucky…..

    I’ve been emailing a country for a top level domain like that and they’ll only allow me the 2nd tier stuff .co.TLD etc…

    Dang – well grats on your new domain – that’s pimp.

  10. From the reactions here, Matt, you are now going to become a hero to formerly-obscure registrars around the globe! πŸ˜‰

    …And a delightful little fetish it is!

  11. I’m confused as to how you paid $500/2 years rather than $1000, which is what the fee listing shows. It says if you have a foreign address (I assume you don’t live in TT), you have to pay $1k per 2 years…

  12. Dang, I actually thought you do have a fetish for Asian females, but not the Japanese ones.. (winking at ma.tt’s girlfriend) :mrgreen:
    Congratulations on your new domain!

  13. Matt you had to pay a bit, but you got a great domain. One reason i got all iterations of my main blogs domain name… and then lately had been on the search for short/easy names.

    I didn’t do as well. I got http://ha.vens.us for use as a family website. And I also was able to get http://n.4p4.us to use for a Napa based site. But I think that last may be too geeky. I’m still debating it, and planning on what I’ll do with it.

    So what will you do with the http://photomatt.net domain? Going to do a redirect to your Flickr Photo account after time to let people catch on?

  14. Nice domain, I have been looking for a short domain name for my personal blog for a long time. Now I would like to have a try on TLDs excerpt .com

  15. Hahaha you know matt, the first thing I did when you mentioned your domain change was I typed in “photomatt.com” to see if you had like a redirect or a splash or whatever. I got that weird page of azn photos instead…haha. yeah. the photomatt.com guy is little kooky.

  16. I am not sure that this will solve the problem of people getting the url wrong. I bet a lot of people will assume it is matt.com – as apparently happens with del.ico.us which people think is delicious.com.

  17. Yeah I realize the ma.tt will be weird to people, but hopefully weird enough that it’s memorable. If nothing else, it’s short. πŸ™‚

  18. Ah crap, all the good “Matt” domains are taken.

    I contacted the guy at matt.com but he wasn’t willing to sell…Argh!

    Btw- Matt, I saw you at the crunchies but I didn’t manage to talk with you. Hit me up on AIM sometime (Ma11maN).


  19. Lucky you it was available!! congrats, its cool πŸ™‚
    Last year i’ve been looking for: tov.ar or luc.ia of even lu.us but or it does not exist as TLD or you have to be resident of the country…

  20. Matt: Redirecting from one domain to another is easy enough (goodness knows I’ve done it plenty as I’ve tried to find my blogging groove), but mind if I ask what the magic is behind redirecting (for example) /2008/01/23/on-matt/ to /2008/01/on-matt/ ??

    I recently spent several hours figuring out how to redirect date based permalinks to simple name-based permalinks, and I came up with a simple .htaccess edit, but I wonder if there’s something more efficient to use?

  21. Good grab on the site…checked out a few like:


    Until I clicked on the price. I know you mentioned it here on your post, but I didn’t read far enough into it (my bad). Wish I had a few more dollars coming in from “da man” to buy them. Nevertheless, thanks for exposing the domains…

  22. If there was a domain .nh I would have one similar to my name: thi.nh. That would be the best domain name ever.

    My name is Th?nh in Vietnamese, with a dot under the “i”.

    BTW, for those who think we use “shapes” in writing like Chinese, or “strings” like Thai: we don’t! Maybe my grand^5 father did. We’ve used latin-based characters for about 300 years. Sometimes people asked me to write the real name in our languange, just for fun, and they got upset since it’s just abc πŸ™‚

  23. So you are going to change your design, because now Photo Matt doesn’t coincide with ma.tt. I love this domain. I wish I could have an eritrean domain xd. Lucky you.

  24. @Martin George – you’re offering up my site????? That is just seven kinds of wrong; talk about incurring my wrath… Just kidding!!! πŸ˜€ Matt originally set up mullenweg.com to be the genealogy site, and then some variation of our first names to be our blogs.
    A very nice lady with two beautiful kids (and a mac) has Charleen.com, so I get charleen.mullenweg.com = talk about awkward!
    Seriously, when mullenweg.com was made 8 years ago (was it really that long????), Matt promised that I could keep it the gene site as long as I wanted, and has stuck to that promise diligently. I can’t tell you how helpful that has been in my research!

  25. And here I was always happy with my seven-character domain. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, congrats on the new domain, I think it’s quite awesome and I’d consider it a life change!

  26. Rick Beckman, I didn’t have to do anything to redirect the permalinks, I just changed them under Options > Permalink Structure and WordPress did the rest.

  27. Will you miss photomatt (despite the fact you’re hanging onto it) or are you nice and ready to move on?

    Congrats on the new home. Hope you’ll be very happy here. πŸ™‚


  28. Having the name Matt, this has to be the coolest domain name in the world. Now if I could only find a way to steal it from you I would be set!! But its a great domain choice I love it!!!! Again though my opinion may be a little one sided πŸ˜‰ haha

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  30. Impressive… and interesting that you were able to acquire a top level domain. πŸ™‚

    My first name is Nancy… and to do something similar to what you’ve done here, I would need to a/ have an admin address in Cyprus (.cy) b/ somehow talk/pay off the nic.cy into allowing me to register a top level domain… which they – apparently – do not allow.

    P.S. Just passing through… πŸ™‚

  31. Glad your happy, but wow is that expensive. And no way is it cooler than matt.com would be. I would have definitely checked that domain out.

  32. Hey Matt, I just wanted to let you know that I read an article about you in the houston chronicle today! It sounds like you’re doing pretty well. I’m really proud of you! Come visit me when you’re in town! <3 Norma

  33. Regardless of the trend, I would have always gone for ma.tt; totally worth the money! Well, at least for people like Matt who can afford it πŸ˜‰

  34. G’day Matt, it’s my first time here at your blog and I love it. I’ve got a million questions for you like how did all those people up there ^ put their photo on their comment and why won’t the spellchecker work on the latest update of WP and do you make your own banners and will you make me one… please, but for now I will resist the urge to babble on, oops too late, and just say *thank you* for WordPress and congratulations on ma.tt πŸ™‚

  35. If a large factor in switching to ma.tt was because of people commonly using photomatt.com, I think you’ll find much more ma.tt.coms than photomatt.coms, personally.

    Either way, I love domain “hacks” and it looks absolutely awesome.