Top 10 worst website names
Posted on 2 Dec 2011 at 16:24, by Jim Martin
Sometimes, people make stupid decisions, especially when choosing a URL for their website. They don’t realise it, but their designated name has an unintentional double meaning when the words are all pushed together in a web browser’s address bar. The new juxtaposition means new words are created, often with amusing consequences.
Consider, if you will, the flash memory manufacturer Swissbit. We’ve reviewed several of its clever army knives with integrated USB flash drives in the past, but only recently realised that it registered a website address for its own country as well as a general .com.
Unfortunately, the top-level domain for Switzerland is .ch, so you can see where the problem lies: www.swissbit.ch. Perhaps only for English speakers, but when the vast majority of the web is in English, it’s worth taking time to make sure your URL doesn’t have unforeseen semantic meanings.
Swissbit must have realised its mistake, as the URL no longer works. However, there are still plenty of genuine websites that you can visit today whose addresses could easily be misread. Here we pick our favourite ten that made us chuckle.
This is probably the most famous URL with a double meaning. Purporting to sell pens from an island, Pen Island is a rather obvious joke site that’s been created specifically because the words read completely differently when pushed together.
There are other variations on the URL, including www.penisland.org, although this domain doesn’t lead to a real site. Yet, it’s still reference on Pen Island’s homepage where it’s called an imposter.
The fact that you can’t actually buy a pen from the site - various messages make excuses about an outbreak of swine flu on a nearby island - mean that we can’t rank this particular site any higher in our top 10.
This is one of those ‘lost in translation’ problems where the meaning is different if the word is taken literally in English instead of the native language. This Finnish recipe site only needs an additional ‘e’ at the end to make more sense to English speakers, but as it stands, it’s possible to believe that it might contain images of primates’ breasts.
Here we have another example of a phrase that has a completely different meaning if read in English rather than French, as it’s supposed it. Les Bocages is the site of an English tree surgeon based in Brittany. Bocage is a Norman word that means wood or small forest, but when viewed in the address bar by an English speaker, it could just as well read Lesbo Cages and be a site selling enclosures for gay women.
For more details about purchasing this feature and/or images for editorial usage, please contact Jasmine Samra on firstname.lastname@example.org
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