My most active site remains BigBlueBall.com. The site has been live for five years now, although for the first two years, it was just a sandbox for web projects and an online portfolio. It wasn’t until three years ago that it morphed into an instant messaging news/support portal.
The name BigBlueBall still causes some confusion. I remember sitting with my friend and co-worker Jim and brainstorming domain names. We first took a legal pad and pencil and just jotted down everything that came to mind. We started checking to see which were already registered, and BigBlueBall was one of only two that weren’t already taken (the name of the other available domain now escapes me — I wish I still had that pad of paper!).
BigBlueBall was then, and remains today, a description of our planet as seen from outer space. The original logo even used one of those NASA space photos, with the clouds swirling around.
This concept still fits quite nicely with the subject of instant messaging. IM is a tool that helps bring people together. There are countless people around the world that I would never have met were it not for the power of the instant message. There are friends and past business associates that I’m able to stay in contact with, thanks to IM. Instant messaging makes the big, blue ball we live on a little smaller, and brings us closer together.
My choice of names was further validated when I later learned that one of my most respected musical artists, Peter Gabriel, had registered bigblueball.org and .net — or at least his company Real World did.
Still, there are times when the name causes some consternation. One of my son’s friends is taking a web design class down at Cal State San Diego. Somehow, as the professor was reviewing websites using a projector screen, this friend suggest he check out BigBlueBall.com. The instructor did, only after being assured that it wasn’t a trick to see if they could get him to display a giant, blue scrotum on the screen. At least I didn’t register BigBlueBalls.
What I like about the name is the implication that we are all neighbors in a global community. I like that it’s easily remembered, and easy to spell. I’ve tried to follow the rule of simplicity with all my websites. And I hope that in some small way, BigBlueBall does help bring people together.