It took us almost 3 hours to come up with a name for this thing…and not only that we were feeling no pain at the time. Alcohol and brainstorming have always been friends, good friends, friends with benefits, but mainly friends with the opposite of benefits. But it wasn’t Mark’s whiskey or my Terrapin Professional Beer (FYI – Their Recreational Beer is much better than the Terrapin Professional 9-5 Work Day Ale) that at last foiled our quest to find the perfect name for this – blog, zine, eclectic outpost?
In the year 2015, finding a good domain name is hard. So many of the good ones are taken. That’s understandable in an era when it’s easier to organize a website than a decent orgy, an era when teenagers are blogging about geopolitics, an era when people take pictures of their food and upload it to the Internet. But, while we were searching for a descriptive and memorable name for this venture, we discovered a sad truth about the modern age – – most of the web names we wanted had been purchased by speculators. The “owners” of these names hadn’t created anything. They had just bought the right to a bunch a seemingly cool-sounding names and were auctioning them off to the highest bidder. It’s the world’s shadiest, low-rent auction house. As we researched native Georgia bird and insect species to see if any of them had mildly-cool descriptive names which could double as a hip title with an edgy double-meaning for our Athens-centric vision, we discovered, to our poverty-stricken horror, that most of the cool names were just gobbled up by somebody who wants to sell them — domain-name speculators. Isn’t rampant speculation the thing that keeps getting America into recessions? Somebody bought the rights to redclay.com? Okay. Maybe an up-and-coming geological outfit, full of preppy teens and mentally-addled adults who still eat mud pies wanted to declare their love for the soil. Mastbooby.com is taken? It could be a rapid birdwatcher. It could be fetish porn. Either way, we’re not going to log on. Whipscorpion.com is taken? That’s got to be the name of some thrash metal band, or, again, maybe fetish porn. There’s a lot of porn out there. Bufflehead.com is not available? Are you kidding me? Who purchased the rights to that one? We tried to get a little more “Athenian.” This city has more unique features than most. We’ve got landmarks, magical places, and interesting people doing wacky things. We could name our enterprise after something undeniably Athenian, or a least use some verbal wordplay and spin a cool name off of it. We’re both writers. It should be easy. Every variation or spin-offs of the word “arch” was taken. UGA alums probably bought them in bulk. Also, there might be other arches out there. The Arch might be our most visible landmark, but it’s not the only one. I wanted something with the tree that owns itself. It’s not going to sue us. It’s a tree…a tree that owns itself. Thetreethatownsitself.com didn’t pan out. We blame Eastern things. Also, we didn’t want to insult the tree. We’ve all read Lord of the Rings. Seen the films. You don’t want a bunch of angry conifers hurling flaming rocks at you. The Varsity? The Varsity may be a landmark, but it’s awful. Fried food and car shows. Athensbeggar.com was taken. Apparently we have a more organized homeless community than we had imagined. Finally, once we were both close to vomiting on the laptop, we found it, a shining beacon of a name, the kind of name you remember, the kind of name that inspires hope to the hopeless, dreams to the dreamless, the kind of name that will launch a thousand angry Facebook posts, athensuncharted.com. Cue the angelic trumpets. We have a name.