The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
December 30, 2010

Announcement: Fake Plastic Fish becomes My Plastic-Free Life

Fake Plastic Fish is an awesome blog name. But sometimes awesome things have to change. I’ll explain why in a second. But the important thing is that before the end of the year, fakeplasticfish.com will become myplasticfreelife.com.

Change Your Bookmarks, Feeds, Subscriptions, Links:

The site URL is scheduled to change tomorrow (12/31) around 12pm Pacific Time.  So please don’t make these changes until then.

1) If you subscribe to Fake Plastic Fish via a feed reader, you will need to subscribe to http://feeds.feedblitz.com/myplasticfreelife.
2) If you subscribe via email, you don’t need to do anything. I will switch you over automatically.
3) If you have bookmarked this page, please change your bookmark to http://myplasticfreelife.com
4) If you have been kind enough to link to Fake Plastic Fish on your blog, either in a blogroll or in a post, I would be sincerely grateful if you would change the URL to http://myplasticfreelife.com. If you’ve linked to a particular page, all the rest of the URL will be the same, just the domain has changed. If you contact me, I can explain in more detail.

Why Change a Good Thing?

When I came up with the blog name Fake Plastic Fish back in 2007, I had no idea that the name of my blog would matter. I really thought it would be a personal blog that few people would read and a project that wouldn’t last long. Little did I know that Fake Plastic Fish would become the main source of information on the Internet about living with less plastic. But it has.

The reason it’s grown is word of mouth, people telling their friends about it and linking to Fake Plastic Fish articles on their blogs. It’s grown because of the community we’ve built up here. The trouble is it’s not reaching many of the people searching Google for plastic-free information. It’s too hard to find. And a prime reason is the domain name. Fake Plastic Fish. Google thinks it’s a site selling aquarium supplies.

Seriously, Google can’t read. I mean, it can read. But it can’t understand. It has no sense of humor. It doesn’t know that I named Fake Plastic Fish for Fake Plastic Trees, one of my favorite songs from my all-time favorite band: Radiohead. And Google doesn’t understand that the name is ironic: if we keep filling the oceans with plastic, fake plastic fish could be the only kind we have left. Try it yourself. Type “Fake Plastic Fish” into a Google search page and see what ads are served in the sidebar.

And it’s not just Google. When I hand people my card, I get quizzical looks and must explain what Fake Plastic Fish is all about. That’s a good thing in that it can generate memorable conversations. But it’s not such a good thing when I’m at an event with a lot of people and don’t have time to explain to each and every one what Fake Plastic Fish means. Yes, my card has the tag line, “Live Life with Less Plastic.” But it’s still not as obvious as “My Plastic-Free Life” will be.

Why I chose “My Plastic-Free Life”

I thought about many different domain names. Some, like simply plasticfree.com or plasticfreelife.com were already taken. Many people have suggested lifewithoutplastic.com, but that domain belongs to a fantastic company, Life Without Plastic, which not only offers great plastic-free alternatives but is also a sponsor of this blog. What’s more, when I think about the difference between “plastic-free” or “without plastic” or “less plastic,” plastic-free just sounds more positive to me. I’m free of my addiction to plastic.

I could also have chosen “A Plastic-Free Life” or “The Plastic-Free Life”. I chose “My Plastic-Free Life” for two reasons. First, there are multiple ways to do plastic-free. We all have different stories and different situations. This blog reflects what plastic-free looks like for me. I use myself as a guinea pig and example. Plastic-free might look different for you. But second, when you read the words “my plastic-free life,” it might sound like you’re talking about yourself, and that would be good too. Because while the specifics on this blog are about my life, the principals and themes are universal. Is that too grandiose of a thought? Maybe that’s just me… over-analyzing again.

Another reason I chose this domain name is for the word “life.” I’m not an expert on ocean plastic pollution, although that is what brought me to this cause in the first place. I’m not an expert on toxic chemicals or waste management or pollution, although I have learned and continue to learn a tremendous amount about all of those topics as they relate to plastic. My expertise is about the personal changes we can each make in our own lives to solve the plastic pollution problem. This blog is personal and practical. It’s about living plastic-free.

What if you forget and type in “Fake Plastic Fish”?

You’ll still get here for now. I’ll have the blog set up to forward Fake Plastic Fish to My Plastic-Free life. But please do change your bookmarks and links. It’s going to take Google a while to figure out that My Plastic-Free Life is an important web site. The more you guys link to the new URL, the sooner other people will be able to find this site again.

Thank you, thank you for your commitment to protecting this planet. And thank you for support of Fake Plastic Fish over the years. I plan to keep learning, reporting, and ranting throughout the new year. And I hope you’ll stay on the ride with me.

31 comments
Jenni
Jenni

HI Beth! Happy New Year! Thank you SO much for your hard work and inspiration and for having the guts and making the time to tell us all about it. Our town is launching a plastic bag ban campaign and I'll keep you posted. FYI, thanks for the baking soda deodorant tip - AWESOME! It's changed our lives!

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee

Congratulations on the blog name change. May "my plastic-free life" reach zillions more people! Thanks for all you do.

Nick Palmer
Nick Palmer

Beth. I always assumed you called the blog "Fake Plastic Fish" because the dead albatross chicks that started you off had swallowed the bits of plastic because they and/or their parents had mistaken the plastic crap for fish. Similarly, we have mistaken (or been conned into mistaking) disposable, short lived items for worthy products.

Dmarie
Dmarie

great idea to make your site name more Google friendly. You've opened my eyes to the magnitude of the plastic problem and hopefully this change will help you to reach many, many more. Best of luck with more traffic coming to your site!

Michelle
Michelle

Great stuff Beth! The more people that find your site the better.

Fr. Peter
Fr. Peter

It just goes to show how far ahead of the field your concept was Beth; from a personal Blog to a World Wide Website. Brilliant!

Blessed
Blessed

No, I had not heard of them before--thanks for the tip! I'll contact you later on, when your new domain is up and running smoothly, and I am ready to jump back in. : )

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Tiffany. Don't worry about Facebook yet. I'm still working on this site! I've got the domain changed now and most of the pages are forwarding correctly. The new feed link is working. But there are a lot of places on the web I have to go through and change the URL. And I need to make a new header! So Facebook is the least of my concerns right now. The Fake Plastic Fish page and Plastic Crap pages will are stay the same for a while.

Tiffany Norton
Tiffany Norton

I'll follow you anywhere too, Beth! But what about Facebook? Will I need to update something there too? And what about the Wall of Shame? I gotta have me Fake Plastic Wall of Shame... Please let us know how to update on Facebook! Thanks! And good luck with the changes!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Blessed, that's a fantastic idea. Have you contacted the Algalita Marine Research Foundation? I know they have some course materials but I'm not sure what kind or for what age group. Email me in the new year and I can help you look for others. I'm guessing it would be worthwhile for you to continue your own project and get the support of organizations working on the issue.

Blessed
Blessed

I will follow you anywhere, Beth. Loved your thought-process behind the new name! Be prepared for me to hassle you a little bit in 2011 for educational purposes. Last year I started writing a 2 week series of lessons for homeschool families on plastics in our world--little lessons that would take about 15 minutes a day to read and discuss, a little longer for the older kids who might want to follow the links and learn more independently. I got to day 8 and then lost steam (it got a little discouraging that none of my homeschool friends showed any interest in using the lessons, even though I teach their kids on a monthly basis, and used to teach college so have some idea what I am doing. ; ) But I have not found ANY series of short lessons out there suitable for a child-friendly study unit on plastic and how they affect the world, in both positive and negative ways, which I why I thought I had better write them. So, if anyone knows of web-based teaching materials on this topic already out there, please let me know! I am not interested in materials that would be suitable for one day of education--there is just too much to cover, and people are already ignorant enough about plastics in our world--we need to help them learn about it through a series of mini-lessons that are honest but not bemoaning, simple to read and understand, with plenty of powerful visuals, and concrete steps the reader can take to evaluate his/her/their family's plastics consumption and what can be done better. If there truly is nothing better out there, then I want to finish the series I started, Beth, but maybe pick your brain a little first. After all, I am sure half of the ideas I was trying to pass along came from your blog to begin with. : ) I want to make this study unit available for free to anyone on the web, with my target audience being homeschool familes (perfect--people who love to learn, who are used to putting ideas into action, who are already living unconventionally) but my dream would be someone in the public school sector adapting it into a format that would work well in the classroom. I know you are all about spreading the word, so I thought maybe I could get your feedback on what I have done when I am ready to jump back in. : ) Just think about it, and I'll email or something when the time is right. In the meantime, Happy New Year and happy new domain, and may this year be a glorious one in the realm of world betterment through less plastic.

Canadian Doomer
Canadian Doomer

I'm with those who like the whimsy of Fake Plastic Fish and I immediately realized that if we keep using plastic, that's all we'll have left. However, I can understand optimizing for search engines. All I can say is -- definitely keep Fake Plastic Fish, because that's how many of us think about you. Not that I have huge traffic yet, but I'll make a post on my blog about your change, too. By the way, you've inspired me to hunt down CommentLuv, learn all about IntenseDebate and CommentLuv, and install them on my Blogger blog. It's been a week well wasted! LOL So come on over and get some comment luv. :)

Our Red House
Our Red House

Funnily enough, I thought "Fake Plastic Fish" referred to those little plastic fish that soy sauce comes in when you buy sushi - one of the most wasteful uses for plastic imaginable. I always thought it was a great blog title. Kate

Sofia's Ideas
Sofia's Ideas

I love your over-analyzation and the conclusion of it all. Love the new name, although I loved the whimsy of the Fake Plastic Fish. I'll be sure to follow you, and change my links back to you... Warmest wishes to you for the New Year! :)

Amber
Amber

I understand your decision to change your link, and I'll be sure to update my RSS feed / blogroll / all that stuff. I hope that the name change does all that you hope it will, and brings more people your way. You have such an important message to share!

carmen
carmen

Thank you for all you do...You are an inspiration...I am slowly getting my family on board...Key word, slowly....So I reuse as much as I can, recycle what I can't and educate those willing to learn...I will be email my friends about your new web site and guide them to learning more....

Sky
Sky

The link for the feed doesn't work. Can you make a new post when it is up and running, so that I can add it to my google reader? Thanks!

Linda Fast
Linda Fast

When I first found your site I thought I had actually found a site where I could get a few free plastic fish. Boy was I wrong. However I am glad I found your site and I enjoy reading your blogs. Please keep up all your hard work, you have really made me reconsider by store purchases.

Rob
Rob

Change if you must. You will always be fake plastic fish to me.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Rebecca, good point. I have a Google sitemap generated via a Wordpress plugin. I think I'll just need to regenerate it once the URLs have been changed. I need to remember to change Google Analytics too.

Rebecca
Rebecca

My only other suggestion would be to create a Google sitemap once the new URL is up and running and submit it using Webmaster tools. If you don't have another system for creating sitemaps, this is a free tool that will do it for you: http://www.auditmypc.com/free-sitemap-generator.asp

Pheas
Pheas

"Little did I know that Fake Plastic Fish would become the main source of information on the Internet about living with less plastic. But it has." Woo-HOO! If you haven't taken a moment (or more!) to let that sink in, bask in it, and celebrate, I hope you will do so at the earliest opportunity! Just ... WOW.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Tracey -- I don't have a name for you, but have you purchased all the misspellings of Annares (did I just misspell it?) and redirect to the actual site? Aso, you can put the misspellings as keywords. Although now it seems Google is getting better at figuring out misspellings. caelidh -- I do use meta information, but the URL is the most important thing -- especially if it's such a confusing URL as Fake Plastic Fish. Rebecca -- That's EXACTlY what I'm going to do -- 301 redirect via .htaccess file at fakeplasticfish.com. In fact, I've been doing it since I switched from Blogger to Wordpress last year to maintain all my old Blogger permalinks. I just didn't realize I could keep my page rank by doing that. Any other advice? Lily -- I love Fake Plastic Guppy, and I actually thought about you before making this change. I felt sad to change it when you had just created FPG. But I'm going to try and figure out a way to incorporate the name Fake Plastic Fish into this blog somehow.

Rebecca
Rebecca

Hey Beth, You might want to consider keeping the fakeplasticfish.com url in addition to the new one and doing a 301 redirect from the old url to the new one (assuming you're running in a linux apache system.) Your site host should be able to set that up for you if you don't have access to the .htaccess file. I believe that if you do the redirect in this way Google will still consider the old links to be valid for the new site, and I don't think you'll lose anything in terms of page rank etc. You can actually redirect the entire site by adding this line to the .htaccess file for fakeplasticfish.com (the old url): Redirect 301 / http://myplasticfreelife.com/ As long as you keep all of the post names and permalinks the same on the new site, that should work to redirect all traffic, links and google rankings. I am by no means an expert, but I've had great luck with this method on various sites. One piece of advice... if you're not experienced with technical stuff use great care when editing the .htaccess file. It's generally better to edit it on the server itself as opposed to downloading it, editing it and uploading it again for some complicated reasons regarding how linux and windows process certain characters. And always make a backup before you edit anything! Feel free to email me if I've totally confused you, and maybe I can point you in the right direction.

caelidh
caelidh

When I was in Library Science school.. I remember that early HTML coding allowed for tagging and content information about the site to be included invisibly (so search engines could read it..) It was called meta data... too bad that it isnt' so easy to insert such meta data into your site. I wish you luck on your expansion. You are an inspiration. Although I cannot say that I am no where near close to where you are... I have gotten a resuable spork thing.. as well as some other things.. but it is about changing our habits and patterns..AND educating restaurants and stores... Thanks ... and I will keep spreading the word!!!

Tracey
Tracey

Yay! I fully support your expansion to world-renovation! *perhaps you can inspire me to come up with a new name for my obscure business, named after an obscure anarchist planet in Ursula K. LeGuin's novel The Disposessed* It would be nice if anyone could spell the name in order to Google it! Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

Lily
Lily

When I first read this I thought, oh no what if this is because of my fake plastic guppy. Then, I read in and felt much better. I fully support your change and wish you luck!!!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Sky and others. None of these new links will work until after 12pm tomorrow. I should have said Pacific Time. 12pm Pacific Time on 12/31/2010. I'll post it tomorrow.

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