A Long Time Coming

October 16th, 2020

When I founded Red Sweater Software in 1999, I picked the name “Red Sweater” because I happened to be wearing a red sweater (jumper, to you Brits) as I was thinking of a name for the company. I liked the way the words rolled off my tongue, and I knew it would lend itself to a warm, welcoming brand.

I didn’t think to check whether the domain, redsweater.com, was available.

As luck would have it, even back in 1999, before quite as many domain names were snatched up, redsweater.com was in fact already taken. An artist named Kira Nam Greene used the domain to showcase her artwork. I had to settle for red-sweater.com. “That’s red, dash sweater, dot com.” It turns out I would be saying this for the next 20+ years, while worrying and wondering whether it was ambiguous to say dash when I really meant hyphen.

I had a recurring reminder to check on the registration status for the domain, in case Ms. Greene decided to let it lapse. I also emailed her periodically, but not too often, in case she had decided she was willing to sell the domain. Understandably, she was not interested in giving it up, as it had become a central part of her own business identity.

As the years rolled by, I noticed she was using redsweater.com less and less actively, as she shifted towards her eponymous domain name. I grew increasingly optimistic that it might one day be possible to acquire the domain, but all of my inquiries were unfortunately met with apprehension.

After over 20 years of trying and failing to acquire this domain, I had stopped inquiring very often at all. It seemed hopeless. I did continue to check the name registration status whenever it came up for renewal, but the domain was always renewed. A few weeks ago I decided to make another effort, and after sending the email, I also posted this message to Twitter:

Alas, I didn’t hear anything back.

Then, about two weeks later, I was shocked to receive an email from Ms. Greene’s associate, indicating that they would be willing to sell me the domain. Over the following couple weeks, we exchanged details and compensation, and I am excited to share that as of this week the domain is finally mine. In fact, you’re reading this on redsweater.com. “That’s red sweater dot com”. No dash. No hyphen. #Finally.

I don’t know if the Twitter post did lead to somebody who knew her giving her a nudge, or if it’s a complete coincidence. In any case I am very excited and relieved to finally have this domain, and it gives me renewed ambition to continue growing Red Sweater into a business that honors such a canonical web presence. Thanks to Kira Nam Greene and her associate for helping me achieve this goal!

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