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Posted April 21st, 2011 by Andrew Goodman

Awhile back, a friend mentioned to me that she might be leaving a traditional law career in favor of setting up her own boutique law firm.

Thinking of her business identity, I immediately thought — just in case, why not check out if her name as a domain name was available? Even if she didn’t set up a website or go really hard at building a new firm, it would be great to use for email if she was doing a little freelance work here and there.

I did some digging and wham! I saw that the domain for her full name was available for the Canadian TLD (.ca). Amazing! The .com was long gone. It’s a pretty common name.

She responded: “Great! Handle it for me and let me know what I owe.”

Aaaarggh! I have plenty to keep me busy taking care of services for companies. I’m not going to start babysitting my friends’ and neighbors’ online identities. Especially not the ones who giggle when they say “Hey, Internet boy…”

The last wave of this refusing to help non-paying “customers” of personal acquaintance was when I made it 100% clear that I would not help my parents’ cottage neighbors “fix their printer” because I was “good with computers”.

Thank heavens, I suppose, we now have Geek Squad and Tiny Briefcase, and the like. I can’t fix your computer, and I won’t register your domain name for you. ;)

I’m sure I’m not the only one to face this apathy, this sense that “someone else” will help you with your digital strategy or your online reputation. Mitch Joel seems to have some good anecdotes about this in Six Pixels of Separation (the book). Our companies are in the business of helping companies with that. But as for casual friends who are too-slowly dipping their toes in the water… I’m pretty sure our evenings and weekends are already booked up. We can’t help you. Only you can help you.

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