About one week ago a whole new batch of web suffixes were made available and so the opportunity to screw up has been extended. Supposedly as part of this process a UK-based internet registrar highlighted their top 10 disasters and suggested that unless you think carefully about it, you might end up attracting a very different, unwanted audience. (Yes OK, it is their attempt at a viral ad … but what the heck, some of the examples are hilarious). As for the skeptical bit, well I’m running with the theory that many of these are not mistakes at all but are in fact deliberate choices designed to attract attention.
Curious to know what the claimed top 10 worst are? well here is a list (from here)
Domain Name Clangers – A Top 10
1. www.profilactic.com – a social media aggregator and life-streaming service. It is also confusable with a medical Prophylactic
2. Pen Island, a firm which specialises in personalised pens, didn’t see the problems with registering www.penisland.net
3. Graphic designers Speed of Art also managed to register the puerile: www.speedofart.com
4. kidsexchange.net – this US website encourages people to buy and recycle their things, bringing in extra income for kids. But it could easily be read as ‘Kid sex change’
5. www.choosespain.com – a travel website for Spain – could be read as ‘chooses pain’.
6. Foreign-sounding names have been successful for web 2.0 companies like Hulu.com, others are harder to convey on the phone: www.jwaala.com
7. Having a poor name and extension at the end for your website address is not ‘cool’: www.cuil.pt
8. Host meeting service www.dimdim.com was a hot new start-up with a silly dotcom name and website address
9. www.eefoof.com didn’t last long as a business with its unpronounceable web domain
10. While the use of a hyphen can usually save a name, and- thekitchensink.co.uk is an example of “off-the-wall positioning,” the registrar said.
Now interestingly enough I do not accept that the above are the 10 worst examples, and so I do indeed dispute their claim, but then the term “worst” is perhaps very subjective anyway. However you be the judge, how about these well-known alternatives that often pop up in such lists?
- A site called “Who Represents” where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is www.whorepresents.com
- Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at www.expertsexchange.com
- Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at www.therapistfinder.com
- Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company… www.powergenitalia.com
- And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales: www.molestationnursery.com
- If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always www.ipanywhere.com
- Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is www.cummingfirst.com
- Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at www.gotahoe.com
- TeachersTalk: A community for teachers and student to discuss all areas of teaching… Even how to stalk teachers?
- An eBay competitor was considering the name Auctions Hit, but found it to be a shitty name: www.AuctionShit.com
- If you offer a scaffold erection/dismantle service, maybe you shouldn’t have a mammoth as your mascot and call your company Mammoth Erection: www.MammothErection.com
- IHA Vegas‘ holiday rentals might have a special smell, since: www.IHaveGas.com
So back to my point – some of these site names have clearly been a deliberate choice. When you have a rather provocative domain name you will get more exposure on the web (i.e. this blog post). Does it actually compromise a company’s professional image to have a domain name with an alternative meaning? I suspect not, and so if I was doing some marketing, I would indeed try to pull something like this and hope for a viral reaction.
As for my favourite … it is www.penisland.net …. and they really do just sell pens and nothing else, and yes you can be darn sure that they know and are quite happy with all the extra traffic and free advertising that it generates.