Underpants over my trousers

It seems like a good opportunity to get my house in order and resolve a domain name dilemma that I have created for myself. But how best to go about swapping two domain names?

I need your advice on something please guys, if you can spare the time.

I started this site for a number of reasons, most of them pretty half-baked. It was during a busy period at work and I wanted a diversion from client projects, something for 'me', something to keep me from feeling jaded. I was keen to learn some of the ins-and-outs of MovableType, as many of the people that I admire were using it to power their sites.

My good friend Derek Featherstone offered to set up MT and over the course of a weekend I thrashed out a design and lashed together the MT templates. I didn't expect it to be read, last more than a week and keep me interested for very long. Now three months later, none of those expectations are a reality. (ed: Spit it out Clarkey, what is your problem?)

My problem is, this site has the wrong web address...

Holy cross-dresser Batman, how did this happen?

Back in the mists of time (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and before Jerry Springer ran out of cross-dressing body-builders called Valerie), I worked in an advertising agency where one account manager was famous for the vagueness of his briefs. He would often say, "They want a bit of this, a bit of that, and all that malarkey, Clarkey!" So the name stuck and the domain malarkey.co.uk was registered.

When we needed a name for our company we looked up Malarkey in the dictionary and came up with 'Stuff and Nonsense'. At the time stuffandnonsense.co.uk was registered to someone else, so we used malarkey.co.uk. When stuffandnonsense.co.uk became available, we snapped it up and then left it in a cupboard gathering dust until I used it for this site.

So now I have a blog called 'And All That Malarkey' on stuffandnonsense.co.uk... and a design company called 'Stuff and Nonsense' on malarkey.co.uk... Confused? I am.

Holy domain name dilemma Batman, how do we get out of this mess?

In the next couple of months, I am updating the company web sites with new designs and new content. It seems like a good opportunity to get my house in order and resolve the holy domain name dilemma that I have created for myself. I think that it's time to swap the two domain names. But how best to go about the switch?

The company domain is listed in Yellow Pages (and other places) which are good sources of local business. If potential clients suddenly land on a site with scooters and monkey business, my phone might never ring again ;)

And what about the kind people who have linked to this site (or subscribe to the RSS feeds)? I don't want to put them to a great deal of trouble updating their feed. That leaves only the small matter of search engine links looking for dead pages on the wrong domain...

My head is spinning...


  1. #1 On September 2, 2004 12:51 AM Stu Schaff said:

    I bet you've already thought of this, but I would strongly suggest sticking a prominent link at the top of each page: "Looking for 'And All That Malarkey'? Click here." or something like that.

    Can't wait to see what you've got for us.

  2. #2 On September 2, 2004 12:54 AM Keith Bell said:

    Given the nightmare complexities involved, I'm not sure you should bother, Andy. Besides, there's a pleasing perversity to it all. In fact I was a bit disappointed to find out the real reason for your "cross dressing", because I thought it had been a deliberate choice. "This guy must have his brain in backwards", I thought, but that's fine because I tend to like people who have their brains in backwards... :o)

  3. #3 On September 2, 2004 01:00 AM Patrick H. Lauke said:

    you know what? i've been wondering about your weird cross dressing habit for a while now. anyway, a half-cooked solution:

    - moving your blog to malarkey.co.uk

    unless, i'm mistaken, all of the company pages currently on malarkey are in a "General" folder. so, if anybody linked to your work pages, the request would be to /General.
    once you have your personal site under the malarkey domain, set up a simple redirect - on apache, it would be something like:

    RedirectMatch permanent ^/General(.*) http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/General$1

    - moving your company pages to stuffandnonsense.co.uk

    here, you'd do the opposite (and as i'm assuming it's a MS IIS installation, and i don't touch the stuff, can't give you the specifics on how to implement it): redirect any call that is *not* to something in /General to its equivalent location on www.malarkey.co.uk (so a call to www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/archives/ would be redirected to www.malarkey.co.uk/archives/). make sure your server also sends a status of 301 (moved permanently) which will help rss aggregators, search engines and the like to update their links

    now, the only problem this leaves are the respective homepages. these can't be redirected, as you don't know if somebody going to any of the domain's homepages wanted to go to your personal or company site.

    not foolproof, and yes you will have breakages here and there with external links...but it's probably the best way out of this tangled web. otherwise, invest in two new domains like www.allthatmalarkey.co.uk and www.stuffandnonsense-design.co.uk, and do a complete redirect: anything going to malarkey redirected permanently to stuffandnonsense-design, and anything going to stuffandnonsense permanently redirected to allthatmalarkey

    *rolls eyes*

  4. #4 On September 2, 2004 09:24 AM Tim Parkin said:

    I'd move all of the blog into a subfolder of the company site and move all of the company site into a subfolder of the blog. Then write some mod_rewrite functions to map every page on one to the subdirectory on the other (301 redirects of course).

    Then just swap the home pages and make sure you have prominent links to each other. This should keep pagerank and bookmarks happy.

    You could add a 'splash page' on both domains of course. You could even make it all flash and let it pop up the site in a new window. :-)

  5. #5 On September 2, 2004 09:44 AM Matthew Pennell said:

    Shared splash page?

    Did I really say that...

  6. #6 On September 2, 2004 09:55 AM Gazzer said:

    In my humble opinion, you should leave it alone. Why try to fix something that no-one realized was broken? The two sites intertwine brilliantly and the crossover on the domains makes sense when you are browsing.

    Keith Bell's "pleasing perversity" sums it up for me.

    I stumbled onto this site by accident and haven't been able to leave since. The site is inspirational and trying to fix it might lose some of the magic.

  7. #7 On September 2, 2004 09:59 AM Colly said:

    I agree with Keith Bell - your brain is backwards, and it's kind of charming and British etc. I wouldn't change it at all. Maybe it is worth doing the "Looking for Stuff and Nonsense? Click here" type of aid for users.

    It was one of the first things I noticed about your sites way back when. I assumed you were a bit cracked, but considered it not so ridiculous that it hadn't been planned.

    I say leave them as they are, to save yourself a world of pain, and to keep me amused.

  8. #8 On September 2, 2004 12:02 PM Andy Budd said:

    I still get confused sometimes wanting to come to your blog but ending up at your company site (or visa versa). So I say change it.

    You could possibly set up an intermediate step. Host your blog on blog.malarkey.co.uk and have an index page on malarkey.co.uk tell people that the site has moved and that they should update their bookmarks. After a few months when the changes have filtered through, you could then promote your blog to the main domain.

    You should also do a permanent redirect on all of your pages to their new home. So if somebody types in http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/archives/underpants_over_my_trousers.html they get sent to www.malarkey.co.uk/archives/underpants_over_my_trousers.html

  9. #9 On September 2, 2004 12:11 PM Phil Baines said:

    I had wondered in the past why they were mixxed up, but I liked it, and wondered with a smile on my face, not a look of 'this is so annoying'.

    I think it is now a case that something has been wrong long enough to make it right.

    I'm with the others that think it's cool as it is.

  10. #10 On September 2, 2004 01:08 PM Phunky said:

    I all ways wonder'd why the two domains were mixed up!

    I would suggest moving pointing both domains at the company site, and then moving your blog to http://blog.malarkey.co.uk or even http://allthat.malarkey.co.uk

    That way you can start switching the domain's on all your print work to stuff an nonsense while not losing your current ones...

    It the company one that is the main importance, the blog is just your extra thang ;)

  11. #11 On September 2, 2004 01:09 PM Phunky said:

    Damn, just noticed AndyB suggested the same thing! should really read comments before posting!

  12. #12 On September 3, 2004 02:22 PM Adam Pink said:

    It's like that old game of plastic tiles in a square, moving each round etc etc. Anyway I would suggest registering underpantsovermytrousers.co.uk and moving the blog there, leaving both your existing domains to go to your Main bread and butter site.

    All the bloggers will happily understand and fondly remember the day when this discussion was had. A link on the stuffnadnonsense domain to the new 'pants' blog (yikes that's not good) will help move people.

    Then come renewal time for Yellow pages etc, only list stuffandnonsense.co.uk and phase out malarkey, only to resurrect it down the road for the blog with another round of happy bloggish banter.

    There, that's my IKEA instruction version of the way to do it.

  13. #13 On September 3, 2004 03:54 PM Fernando Dunn II said:

    I think more than anything, you should make the change for the sake of new clients. The URLs are very confusing to nonregulars, and can give a representation to your clients that is unintended.

    I think you should have a transitional period where you keep malarkey.co.uk as it is now, but add linkage to your blog that will be located at allthat.malarkey.co.uk . Then, you should just mirror your business site to both URLs to compensate for new and existing visitors.

    Or you could just make the change and do like Todd Dominey does: link to your professional site through a "portfolio" link, and vice versa for the blog.

  14. #14 On September 4, 2004 03:29 PM kayjay said:

    I think Matthew's splash page idea may work.

    You could use the cowshed / farm theme, with an image of a cowshed as a link to the work site, with maybe a farmhouse next or near to it, as a link to this site - cowshed being 'work', and farmhouse being 'relaxation and discussion'. This way you can generate interest to both.

    Potential customers won't be put off if they come across your 'scooters and monkey business', it would only serve to emphasize your dedication to your profession.

    Not a very techie answer but hey ...

  15. #15 On September 21, 2004 11:57 AM David Petherick said:

    Hmm. Try sub-domains, mate.

    http://malarkey.stuffandonosense.co.uk goes to one, and
    http://stuffandnonsense.malarkey.co.uk goes to the other.

    Or the other way round, in normal perverse cross-dressing order?

    But then, how about registering, say, malarkey.cc and stuffandnonsense.cc and telling everyone that you've changed your address.

    Actually, just leave it.

    It's not broken.

    (.cc is Cocos Islands, by the way).

  16. #16 On October 9, 2004 01:27 AM Root said:

    Whatever you decide please do not be tempted into moving an MT database. Please . :)