World's Fair

As in

Last week, I opened up a free wordpress blog, with the hopes of collecting my writings in one place, as well, as trying to categorize the silly “true or false” questions I use in many of my public talks on science literacy (most of which have been discussed in some form or fashion at the World’s Fair, but are kind of buried because of my poor categorization skills).

I initially decided to use the URL, which was chosen partly out of frustration because every “davidng” or “daveng” URL seemed to have been taken.

Anyway, since yesterday, I’ve been tweaking the site (for a small fee, you can tweak the css), and have decided to rename it popperfont, really for the simple reason that it sounds kind of cool (and also merges two of my primary interests – things about science, and things that look nice).

Then I kind of wondered aloud whether website success has anything to do with what you choose to call the website. I suspect a website’s name it must play a small role in its allure, but does anyone out there know of any example in the blog-o-sphere where this nuance has been noted?

If nothing else, drop on by and leave a comment.


  1. #1 PlausibleAccuracy
    June 24, 2008

    I took several stabs at blogging before this latest one. This time I decided to “do it right” by choosing a name carefully and registering the domain.

    I’m not sure if it’s the only reason, but this blog seems to be getting a lot more attention than previous attempts.

    Just my own $0.02

  2. #2 Michael Robinson
    June 24, 2008


    I don’t know of any data to answer your question. I like the name PopperFont because it will clue in a variety of people from the sciences as well as history and philosophy of science better than And it sounds better too.

    I tried on a number of different names when I started writing my blog on the history of exploration (e.g. Circle of Latitude, the Last Cairn, Arctic Fever) but chose the most colorful and visceral title on my list:

    It also happened to be the name that fit best with the themes I want to write about.

    Good luck with the new blog,


  3. #3 Matthew Platte
    June 24, 2008

    Uhh… Karl is a distant #3 on my word association chart. First would be the stuffed & fried peppers that go by the moniker “poppers” here in football territory. Second place would be expecting typefaces and hoping for free downloads of well-done fonts.

  4. #4 Dave S.
    June 24, 2008

    I agree with Matthew – my first impression wasn’t that of the knighted Popper, but rather of stylized typefaces. This was then followed by “I wonder what Karl Popper’s writing looks like?” and finally “God, this popsicle is so good.” I love lazy summer days.

    I think niche titles like the one you’ve chosen will only *work* if your audience is *in* on it, otherwise you possibly risk alienating or jading them.

    It’s a tough gig.

    That is, it’s a tough gig if it really matters in the first place. It probably doesn’t. Rah rah Popperfont!

  5. #5 Ian
    June 25, 2008

    I think you need something cooler than popperfont. That just sounds bad to me.

    Davengwrites was pretty good, I thought, although it says nothing about what you write.

    How about Maybe that’s not so good but it does have a ring to it. How about sciengaging or scientranced? Maybe not!

    Does the site have to be .com? Using .net is cooler than .com IMO, whereas .org carries a certain cachet of honesty and self-sacrifice (for better or for worse!).

    If you really want traffic, you gotta put a triple X or “sex” in the name! LoL! How about!!

    In the end it’s got to be what you can live with. but you need to make it shout, whatever you finally go with.

  6. #6 jj
    June 25, 2008

    I’ve noticed a trend in domain names over the past few years. It seems that people used to try and find the shortest domain name possible, usually using abbreviation’s. Nowadays, it seems (and this may be due names being taken)that domain names are getting longer and more descriptive. Take for instance my companies email domain, “”. I have been asked if we can change it to “rainbowlight”, as thats the companies name. Turns out saying RLNS on the phone isn’t too easy to understand, and becomes ‘Richard-Larry-Nick-Sally-Dot-Com’, rainbowlight would be easier, and well uite a logical choice. Since people don’t search domain names but content, it to me, as an ISM, seems quite arbitrary…

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