From the official Bluesky (pro tip: rhymes with brewski and Russki) blog:
We believe that there must be better strategies to sustain social
networks that don’t require selling user data for ads. Our first
step in another direction is paid services, and we’re starting
with custom domains. While setting up a custom domain to
use with Bluesky and the AT Protocol is fairly straightforward, it
does require some familiarity with domain registrars and DNS
settings. Yet, over 13,000 users have already either repurposed
domains they already owned to use as handles, or purchased a
domain solely because of Bluesky. Domains have so much potential
as a personalized way to customize identities and as a
decentralized way to verify reputation that builds off the
existing web. For example, U.S. Senators have used the
senate.gov domain to verify their identity on Bluesky without
our involvement, and a third-party developer built a web
extension that checks if websites are linked to an AT
Protocol identity. The possibilities are wide in the
We’re partnering with Namecheap, a popular domain registrar, to
offer a service for easy domain purchasing and management.
With this, people can set a custom domain as their handle on
Bluesky and the AT Protocol in under a few minutes.
Making it a built-in feature and a source of recurring revenue for the Bluesky company — legally, a public benefit corporation — is a great idea. Using a custom domain name as your handle is one of the best features of Bluesky and the AT Protocol, and it really is rather simple. But by building it in as a feature, Bluesky can make it super simple, and remove the possibility of error.
In Bluesky’s settings (which are relatively concise), go to “Change Handle” under “Advanced”. Then tap (or click) “I have my own domain.” On the next screen enter the domain name you own and wish to use in the top field, and Bluesky will show you the domain and value to enter at your registrar. I’m using “gruber.foo”, but you can just as easily use a subdomain like “john.gruber.foo”. The Daring Fireball account on Bluesky will be “daringfireball.net” — I could have used “gruber.daringfireball.net” for my personal account. A publication like, say, The New York Times could allow reporters to each have official Bluesky accounts like “reportername.nytimes.com”. Verification, in a sense, is built in.
Then just go to your domain registrar and create an entry of type “TXT” using the domain and value you copied from the Bluesky app. Wait a few minutes for the change to propagate and your custom domain is now your Bluesky handle. Here’s a screenshot from my settings at Google Domains.
★ Thursday, 6 July 2023