Claim: Companies choose domain names with unintendedly risqué double meanings.
Origins: In the Internet world, the domain names that guide customers to companies' web sites can sometimes be a bit confusing, as they lack spaces between words and often eschew punctuation for the sake of brevity. Domains for similarly-named companies can sometimes be mistaken for each other, and other domain names may seem to represent something entirely different than what was
One example of the latter category arose in June 2003. when Powergen, the UK's leading integrated gas and electricity company, supposedly picked a rather unfortunate domain name for the web site of their Italian subsidiary, Powergen, that sounded like a shopping place for persons looking to purchase industrial-strength vibrators: powergenitalia.com. But the folks at Powergen maintained that they had nothing to do with the choice of domain name and didn't even have an Italian division. The powergenitalia.com domain hosted the unrelated web site of a real Italian company (Powergen Italia) selling specialized battery products. They have evidently since adopted the less provocative domain name of batterychargerpowergen.it.
Some other favorite examples of this phenomenon include:
who represents?, a web site for looking up information about which agents, managers, and publicists represent various actors, adopted a domain name that could, at first glance, be taken as a place for web surfers to go when trying to find the perfect gift for that special hooker: whorepresents.com.
Experts Exchange, a programming advice and discussion web site, uses a domain name that might attract queries from prospective patients seeking informed advice about transgender surgery: expertsexchange.com.
The Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales, Australia, opted for a domain name that unfortunately carries connotations of being a breeding ground for pedophiles: molestationnursery.com.
In some cases, registrants appear to have deliberately selected ambiguous domain names for their double entendre qualities, as represented by Pen Island, a putative retailer of custom made pens who has staked out territory at the domain penisland.net.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.