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Why SaveYourself.ca Became PainScience.com

All about the 2014 change from SaveYourself.ca to PainScience.com

Paul Ingraham • 3m read

From the early 2000s until the end of 2014, this website was called “SaveYourself.ca.” And I never really liked it.

It seemed like a good idea originally, but I outgrew it quickly. Practically from the moment I started selling some of my best content, I started to get uneasy about the connotations of “save”: it smacked of a healing promise that no one can keep.

Plus it sounded like Jesus might be involved somehow. Jesus saves! Nothing against Jesus — well, nothing relevant here anyway — but He is just not what this website is about at all.

PainScience.com is about pain and science … just like it now says on the tin.

Gravitas, baby: PainScience.com is more dignified

PainScience.com is a much weightier domain name than SaveYourself.ca was. In fact, it seems so important-ish that I even questioned whether it was ethical to claim it. Shouldn’t it belong to an institute or something? Or at least an actual pain scientist?

Naw. Finders keepers, losers weepers!1 It captures the soul of my content: this place is about the science of pain.

But I do have a great sense of responsibility to live up to the seriousness of the new name.

Oh, Canada!

Another reason I moved: sadly, the Canadian dot-ca was probably holding me back. Google assumes that domains tied to a nation are most relevant to citizens of that nation. More to the point, Google assumed SaveYourself.ca was less relevant to everyone else — which means it was harder for my content to rank outside of Canada.

My Canadian-ness has been an important part of my business, and I always liked wearing it on my sleeve with the dot ca. But not at the expense of being able to reach readers outside of Canada.

The timeline

Moving sucks: it took roughly two full weeks of hard work to pull it off. It’s a big, complex website with a bunch of custom tech. I manually reviewed and changed more than 5000 references to variants of SaveYourself.ca.

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Notes

  1. Lots of people have expressed their surprise that I was able to secure a domain name like PainScience.com. It was a classic bargain, like finding a priceless antique at a garage sale with a masking-tape price tag of $20. The seller simply didn’t know what they had. Based on comparisons with similar domain names, I conservatively estimate that PainScience.com should have gone for at least $6000, if not much more. But I got it for — drum roll, please — just $600. Better still, the domain was unspoiled: that is, it never had crappy content on it that got penalized by Google, which can make a domain useless. And one more better: I was also able to secure the corresponding Twitter handle, @painsci (also @painscience, but shorter is better). In a way, that was even more shocking.