T has been argued and nearly publicly announced that WordPress.com is headed towards a get-your-own-space program. I think this would be an excellent idea. Essentially, a blog that runs on WordPress.com can be accessed transparently from a personal domain rather than a subdomain on WordPress.com.
Interesting thoughts spring to mind. One can get a wordpress.org blog hosted by a third-party (through a manual installation or using a one-click-away script). Alternatively, anyone could just start things on a small scale with WordPress.com, then growing big(ger) with a personalised, top-level domain. While I’m not sure how search engines will deal with redirections or URL changes (this could get tricky), it could be done properly by sending HTTP header with status code 301. I heard success stories, as well as ‘Googlejuice’ disasters. But people’s bookmarks should not be an issue.
Chiroweb.com, for example, has been doing essentially the same thing, namely letting you have your own domain hosted as a subsite on a root site, which is at the same time accessible through your won domain. Page composition (CMS front end), on the other hand, is, as expected, restricted by the service, so there is limited freedom and scope for manoeuvre, development, and extension. This can nonetheless be circumvented by changing hosts and installing an alternative (temporary site mirror) manually. It should be possible with WordPress.org, but probably not with Chiroweb, whose templates are proprietary/licensed (example below).
That’s my relative in Florida!