In 2000, EAB decided to procure its own dedicated website name, both for the technical advantages and improved image this would give. Our preferred choice was esperanto.org.uk (the default name for a major non-commercial organisation in the UK, related to Esperanto). But although that name wasn't being used for a website at the time, it was registered to the Esperanto Party. They offered to sell the name to EAB for £50,000 — an offer which EAB's trustees declined, because (at that time) similar (but not-yet-registered) names were selling for just £10. So we procured the alternative name esperanto-gb.org, and this has been the address for EAB's web presence for the last decade.
Later, the Esperanto party let their registration of the name esperanto.org.uk lapse, but German then Isle of Man "cyber squatter" firms quickly procured it, before we had a chance to. Such firms buy up website addresses and then hoard them, in the hope of re-selling them for a profit; in the case of esperanto.org.uk they were asking for "at least a three figure sum" and, again, EAB's trustees felt that there were better uses for the charity's funds.
Finally, patience has paid off, and thanks to Tim Owen's vigilance, EAB has now procured the name esperanto.org.uk (and for significantly less than "a three figure sum"; it works out at £3 per year over the next decade). People who use search engines like Google or who click on website links probably won't notice any difference, but people who manually re-type website addresses, or who try to guess what our address should be ("it's to do with Esperanto, it's a non-commercial organisation, it's in the UK, what might it be?") might find our new address more predictable.
Of course, having printed our old web-site address esperanto-gb.org on virtually every EAB book, leaflet, CD and DVD published in the last 10 years, we are still continuing to support that address too. So whether someone types esperanto.org.uk or esperanto-gb.org, they will still end up at EAB's website. [Postscript: within a few days of my writing that confident declaration, the name-server handling our old name esperanto-gb.org — as well as many other website names — suffered a loss of service, so people attempting to browse those addresses received an error message for several hours. We hope that event (which was outside our control) will be a "one-off".]
With the new website name (aka "domain name") come new email addresses. The EAB office is now contactable on eabesperanto.org.uk as well as on the previous one. But the novelty is that the trustees and employees now have the option of handing over an EAB address when engaging in EAB business, granting a more professional veneer to EAB when communicating with outsiders. When Clare Hunter converses with our auditors she no longer has to use her personal address. Similarly, Brian Barker, so regularly in contact with the outside world on our behalf, now has the sort of address that people would expect of an organisation's representative. To see the new addresses, please visit our organisation > EAB people page.
At the same time as adopting the new website name, we have changed our website hosting arrangements, switching to a new service provider who offers more bandwidth and storage capacity at a significantly lower cost. This gives us a platform to increase our web presence, hosting specialised sites to promote individual groups (e.g. skotlando.org), events (e.g. britakongreso.org) and significant publications (e.g. starinanightsky.eu) — and in future perhaps providing audio downloads and e-books too, all at a low incremental (infrastructure) cost to EAB. As with much of our promotion activity, finding the volunteers to organise, compose, maintain and manage suitable content is the main bottleneck, not the technology.
We hope that the website migration runs smoothly, and that you don't experience any difficulties while using the EAB website. The only significant wrinkle we know of is the Google site-search, which (as of early July) has discovered some but not (yet) all of the content at the new address. So for an interim period our site search function includes a "legacy search" option, trawling the content at the old address too. If you do encounter any other website-related problems or difficulties, do please let us know, using the contact feedback form and selecting the "website feedback" option.
Bill aka Vilĉjo Walker
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