Merging the Google way

Long overdue, aborted several times in 12 months, I am now beginning a major infrastructure change for my domains and it’s all started with letting Google manage my mail.

With some assistance from Mark Perkins, I began the process yesterday of creating a Google Apps account and setting up a primary domain which will be me for the remainder of my online existence. I started out in this online world as The Avangelist. A name given to me, as should be the case with all nicknames and one which I rather like. Since 1999 I have used it as my online pseudonym. Through years of Counterstrike clan and casual matches, myspace, message boards, IRC, AOL and yes, even MSN Messenger. It was used with vitriol, sometimes a way to hide my insecurity of forever feeling like I’m not taken seriously on some subjects because of my age.

But parts of the Avangelist have slipped away like the mask of the phantom revealing the stark ugliness of a facade whilst exposing the tenderness beneath the scars. I don’t spend my time trying to tell people how amazing Band X (not to be confused with Kings-X, Liberty X, Static-X, X-zibit, or Bush X) are and why they should go see them/buy their 7”/buy their t-shirt/acknowledge their existence. I don’t spend any time trying to make people understand the greatness of Judd Winick’s writing from Frumpy the Clown to Barry Ween through to Batman, or how looking through the work of Walker Evans engrosses and reviles me at the same time.

So is this a personal rebrand? In some aspects, yes, but it’s been a long process. A few years ago I purchased byandyparker.com with a dual purpose. Firstly, I am more than just the confused hybrid of jargon I wrote for several years on avangelistdesign.com, and I’m also more than the photographer who struggled with yet another iffy WordPress install at avangelistphotography.com, and there’ve been other profiles and services too which have come and gone. I wanted to make something all encompassing.

Second to this was creating a domain which if I had in the foot of a site I had worked on or built would read well. It’s a very dated concept to ask to have a credit in the foot of a website but we still see it often the old “site by” is an acknowledged standard, one so powerful that a former employee had found a way to game Google SERPS for a time by writing it in a specific way on sites they had developed.

This is why if you look at anything I have created (and that is still live) in the footer it reads “This site was designed, developed and hosted by Andy Parker”. See the nice touch there?

What it also means is I can begin really thinking about the following:

  • Do I keep renewing the domains avangelistdesign.com and avangelistphotography.com?
  • If I do, do I find new hosting and keep this crap somewhere, or sack the sites?
  • If yes, where do I go for hosting because I can’t afford Bluehost anymore.

So far, the experience for setting up Google Apps has been OK, it’s certainly not simple but I haven’t hit any clangers yet. I’ll be writing about this ongoing process throughout the coming weeks as I continue moving more and more parts around.

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Andy Parker

User Experience Designer, headbanger, biker, skater, gamer from Brighton UK.