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Marketing mishaps: When domain names go wrong

2nd Jun 2010
Head of editorial Sift Media
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It can be a struggle coming up with a company name, but when the inevitable happens, and you decide to get a website, ensuring your domain name works for your product or offering is key.

There are plenty of other considerations to keep in mind too, such as the fact that in order to help customers find your site, the name musy be short and memorable, easy to spell, and it is even worth thinking about whether it translates well into other languages.

To further complicate mattters, the domain name you like may already be taken.

And it is in light of these challenges that some brands can sometimes come unstuck with their choice of domain name - something that self-employed computer programmer Andy Geldman has devoted a website to, and has now launched a new book about.

"With over a hundred million websites already registered it's extremely unlikely that a business will get their first choice of address. In fact, they'll be lucky to get their second, third or even hundredth choice," says Geldman. "There have always been unintentionally funny names, but the internet takes it to a whole new level. It's all because you can't have a space in your URL. A business called IT Scrap is fine in the real world but not so great online with itscrap.com!"

Geldman discovered the joy of awful URLs in 2006. Realising he had found his true calling, he coined the word "slurl" - a badly named URL, innocently chosen by a real businesses - and set up a website and devoted all his spare time to hunting down more gems. The website went on to draw thousands of visitors from around the world, bringing in over 75,000 in 2009.

Now Geldman has written a new book called Slurls, which includes more than a hundred websites along with relevant facts, observations and internet trivia.

Here are some of his favourites from the past four years:
 

  • www.ipwine.com - Could you trust them for a bottle of Chardonnay? 
  • www.effoff.com - Effective Office Environments plans and manages interiors for working. Not such a welcoming URL though...
  • www.mp3shits.com - MP3 downloads. But is the music any good?
  • www.actionpaintballsac.com - Action Paintball Games in Sacramento, California.
  • www.childrenslaughter.com - Despite a URL that doesn't sound child friendly, The Children’s Laughter Foundation supports charities that fight abuse and neglect, improve children’s medical treatment, and advance children’s educational and emotional development.
  • www.graphicartsexchange.com - Graphic Arts Exchange emphasises it is the "world's premier internet destination for selling printing and graphic arts equipment" - and nothing more.
  • www.swissbit.ch - a manufacturer of high-quality computer memory chips
  • www.therapistfinder.com - Therapist Finder is a directory of nearly 8,000 licensed mental health professionals in California.
  • www.goredfoxes.com - The sports team of Marist College, New York, are known as the Red Foxes. Go Red Foxes!
  • www.nobraces.com.au - Effective orthodontic and dental treatments from the nobrace centre in Australia.

 This article was originally published on TrainingZone.co.uk's sister site: MyCustomer.com

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