I remember about 10 years ago, when I was about to leave a job, that I wanted a new long term email address. I settled on a mailbox at well.com. Back then, having a well.com address meant that you were at least somewhat cool. That’s how I saw it anyway. Shortly thereafter, I registered rc3.org, because it’s short and because rc3.com was taken, and moved all my email to that domain. And I thought that making sure your mail got delivered to a prestige domain was a dead idea — that nearly everyone would just have their own domain name down the road. The explosion of weblogs confirmed that for me — who would want their weblog to be in a directory off of a domain name they didn’t own, or even under someone else’s domain name with your own host name.
Anyway, I think that the need for everyone to have their own domain name never really arrived, and that indeed, things are moving in the opposite direction. I have no problem telling people my address at gmail.com, and if I were starting a weblog today, having it reside under typepad.com or blogs.com would be perfectly fine with me. There are plenty of high traffic web sites that live at blogspot.com and livejournal.com.
I think that the improvement of search engines plays a big part here. I could easily tell someone “just Google me” rather than go to “rc3.org” and it would be just as easy to find me. Anyway, I think that the ownership of your own domain name is just not the big deal it once perhaps was. That said, I’ll keep mine.