Wonderful to see a blog post with so many comments. I’m having 2006 flashbacks.
For the payment issue, the credit card problem isn’t one for most recent college graduates in the US because most bank debit cards are affiliated with MasterCard or Visa so they can pay domain registration and hosting (if they choose) with their debit cards out of a checking or savings account. I suspect the situation is very different elsewhere though, especially if PayPal isn’t an option. A bit of poking around this morning and I found Netim.com, a French domain register and host that accepts payment by check, back transfer and Western Union in addition to the usual PayPal and credit cards.
About the paying for versus free, I admit I’m very reluctant to have students use “free” services (that are profiting off my students’ content) partly because of that profiting, partly because in my very early days of net use, I lost content when the free host “Free Yellow” shut down. I know wordpress.com and the like offer export abilities, but I still want to be able to email or call someone if there’s a problem and know I’m a customer, not a product. All that said, I still use Twitter with my students.
The issue of cost post-college is a real one and I don’t mean what I say next to make light of the discussions above. But one of the things I like about Domain of One’s Own is partly that the student’s domain dies by default if they do nothing and their content goes away without them having to do anything else. Maybe after four years they’re sick of the name they choose in a brief moment during their first week of college. Maybe they want to move their content somewhere else. Maybe they just want to download it and save it on a flash drive the way I stuck my college papers in a folder for 10 years before I threw them out. One of the problems with free services is work doesn’t go away unless you take it down. Even then it’s hard to actually delete a wordpress.com domain. I’ve tried.
Thank you for starting such a great conversation.