What is Howard Bashman's biggest problem? Success. Catastrophic success, to be precise. His dilemma contains lessons for many other lawyers who are considering getting into the blogging game.
The popularity of Mr. Bashman's How Appealing blog has created headaches for him. As he notes, Blog*Spot, which hosts his blog under the URL http://appellateblog.blogspot.com, has become very slow. He has recently registered the domain name appellateblog.com. This domain name now redirects visitors to it to his existing Blog*Spot site, and he plans to move his site to a better web server, where it will operate under the new domain name. This remedial measure is similar to that adopted recently by another popular blawg, The Volkh Conspiracy.
Problem solved? Not quite. Mr. Bashman's site is so popular that many people have built links to the Blog*Spot URL. No less than 150,000 links, according to search engine AllTheWeb.com. As I explained in my recent article at LLRX.com, those links are extremely valuable. And despite Mr. Bashman's efforts to fix the problem, every one of those links will continue to point to the unreliable, slow Blog*Spot server. Mr. Bashman is taking the right approach, but because he's moving belatedly, he's in a dilemma that is going to prevent him from getting get all of the benefits he has earned through his skill and hard work.
Am I so much smarter than Howard Bashman or Eugene Volkh? Definitely not. As I have pointed out, I made exactly the same mistake when I set up this blog. I thought I would see how well the blog worked before deciding to get a domain name, and I went with the Radio default: http://radio.weblogs.com/0117533. Big mistake! After a couple of months, I got the custom domain name http://www.netlawblog.com, but all the links that had been built to the first domain name were broken, and I still haven't recovered completely.
The lesson for would-be lawyer-bloggers? Plan for success. Plan for major success. Don't make the same mistake that Bashman, Volkh and I made. Before starting your blog, secure a domain name that is under your control, and only under your control. [net.law.blog]