Claiming Your Name Online

aka Vanity URLs

As I explain in the About Me page, my real name is Antonio but I was named after my dad which makes me a “Junior”. In the Philippines, Jun is short for Junior and not JR as it is in the US or even England. Many families have a Jun in the Philippines (it’s practically a custom) and so I am just one of the millions of Jun Pinedas.

Email Addresses

Do you remember signing up for an email address and getting frustrated when the one you want is no longer available, that someone had beaten you to it? Do you remember thinking, “How dare they claim my name!”?

When I first had internet access at home in 1998 (a dial-up one at that) , one of the first things I did was create an email address. At the time, Hotmail was the most popular email provider, not that there were many. I tried registering the email address but not surprisingly, it had already been taken. It was the same with the other giants of the internet: Yahoo! and AOL. Well, it was a price I had to pay for having such a popular nickname.


I was more successful in claiming my name with domains. Everyone needed an email address but a lot fewer were interested in web design and hence, acquiring domain names. And so, circa 2007, I was able to register both and I did not bother with because I did not see myself as an organisation!

I used for a web design project when I was studying for a masters degree in digital media, but I allowed to expire. I think it was because I could not afford to renew at the time. Shortly after, I received an email from an unscrupulous individual who had registered once it became available. He offered to transfer it to me since he knew I was the owner of He wanted a large sum of money (at least £2000, if I remember correctly) for the transfer, thinking perhaps that because I had the .net domain I would be willing to pay a fortune for the its .com counterpart. Sadly for him, I didn’t have that kind of money and so I passed.

The story has a happy ending, however. Less than a year later, I discovered that was available once again – the unscrupulous individual must have decided it wasn’t valuable after all and dropped it. I re-registered it straight away and I’ve had the domain ever since.

Gmail and MSN

When Gmail was launched, I acted early enough to secure the username junpineda. Another acquisition I’m rather proud of is my MSN username. Circa 2002, I subscribed to the now defunct MSN Premium service which allowed me to register for an MSN email address and of course I went for junpineda again. Though the MSN Premium service now no longer exist, I have been allowed to keep my MSN email address. Indeed, it is now my main Microsoft ID for such things as Microsoft Office 365 and Skype.

Social Media

Of course, when social media came it was also a rush to claim your name. I think it was in 2009 when Facebook introduced usernames. I remember staying up late so that I could be online when registration for usernames first opened. My dedication paid off and I was able to secure I was similarly fortunate with Twitter.

I’m excited to see what the next big thing is on the internet which will make netizens scramble to secure their usernames.

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