Hall of Shame
The 11 Worst Website Names Ever
Or are they just genius marketing ploys?
You would expect that any startup founder, marketing director, or person with any business savvy, would roadtest their website name before registering and launching it. Perhaps get some feedback from peers. After all, it is the entry point of most clients to a business. It’s the face of the brand. It can be the single most crucial part of any company.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Here are eleven examples when perhaps a little more time should have been spent considering the domain name.
Don’t know what to get a prostitute for their birthday? This seems like the website you would visit, but it is actually a database for obtaining the management details for celebrities or companies.
Surely when the Teachers Association wanted a forum for teachers to discuss ideas and collaborate, they could come up with a domain that was a little less creepy?
Anyone who has watched Arrested Development will appreciate the need for therapists to be careful with their domain names.
There was also the more prominent website therapistfinder.com which swiftly changed their name to California Counselor.
The Powergen company based in Italy may not have adequately thought through the combination of their company and country of origin.
The global car rental company was stuck with the local domain for the Cook Islands: .co.ck
There has been some talk of the Cook Islands changing the name of their country which would eliminate the .co.ck. Some big companies use other domain endings such as Telecom Cook Islands which uses ccTLD.ck
This company selling IT scrap parts had an unfortunate description of their goods. Not a great advertising slogan!
This is a website for art, rather than an embarrassing incident at the beach.
Looking at the domain name, I bet you didn’t think this was a place where you could buy, sell and exchange children’s toys, or as they proclaim on their website, “the ultimate recycle.”
This small nursery located on Mole River road, in New South Wales, Australia perhaps should have put more thought into the naming of their nursery. It did take them a while before they changed their website to Mole River, but their nursery name lives on.
Often used as the case study for bad websites, Pen Island, in itself, a strange name for a business selling pens, has attracted a lot of attention. Is this a tropical island that sells pens? The subject of memes, Reddit jokes and marketing 101 lectures, was there more behind this attention-grabbing URL?
These cabin rentals in Ohio might be a haven for older men, but when you can’t place an apostrophe in a URL, it brings up images that many may not want to have.
To be honest, when I started writing this article, it was to poke fun at really poorly chosen domains. I mean penisland? That’s terrible! I thought readers would enjoy a good laugh at these websites.
However, having researched this article, I think that some of these businesses are very clever and did this deliberately. They received more visits to their site, great PR, and exposure through social media sites and articles like this. None of which would have happened if they had a regular boring domain name.
Would a nursery in a small country town in Australia, have received thousands of unique visits and potential inquiries if they had settled on Mole River Nursery from the outset?
Pen Island certainly fooled most people. If visitors took the time to read the content on their website and view their logo, they would see it’s made as a joke. Yet, they seem to have tricked many visitors into thinking a small innocent pen company made a huge mistake. My one criticism of the website creators is they have missed an opportunity to capitalize on this and monetize their website. Perhaps, they just are happy with the prank itself.
Some companies, such as Kids Exchange and IT scrap, after realizing their unintended double entendre, changed their domains, and have redirects in place. No doubt they enjoy increased traffic as a result.
A few, such as Powergen Italia and Teachers Talking realizing the power of their URL, turned their marketing faux pas into an opportunity and sold their domains to enterprising cyber companies.
So, maybe it actually was a talented marketing person or a smart entrepreneur who came up with these awful domain choices, and there was a strategy behind these names. It is not one I would recommend for a big brand, but it could be a way for a new startup looking to gain PR and drive traffic quickly.