Company names don’t always translate well to domain names

Be careful when converting your company name / brand name into an (available) domain name; it can have embarrassing repercussions.

I was reminded of this fact recently when seeing an email in my inbox that was sent to multiple recipients, including myself. One of the recipients was someone at This domain name may appear rather ordinary to us Americans. But to those who speak “the Queen’s English” – including those in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – I bet they get a chuckle when they see it. I can imagine them thinking to themselves “Is this the company that put the “arse” in commerce?”. The company is ARS Ecommerce, not Arse Commerce.

Company names that work well in one context may not work so well in another. I remember a classic example of this from a hilarious piece in Business 2.0 magazine (circa 2001) called “Boo! And the 100 Other Dumbest Moments in e-Business History“. Here’s the money quote:

In October 1998, an e-commerce software vendor launches with the name Accompany, which, when said aloud, sounds exactly like “a company.” As in “Hi, I’m calling from Accompany.” “Which company?” “Accompany.” And so forth. It changes its name to MobShop in March 2000.

In my post on the blog titled “Eleven steps to buying a domain name that doesn’t suck, I give another classic example of a domain name faux pas: No, it’s a site for finding therapists, not rapists.

You also have to consider whether your choice of domain name will get you inadvertently blocked by email firewalls or the search engines’ adult filters.

Take for example this parts store – – hyphenating the two words would have been a good idea. Ditto for, an agency that represents celebrities.

Here are a few other examples of domain names gone horribly wrong:

  • for Cumbria Storage Systems, Ltd.
  • to travel in Spain, pain-free!
  • deals with modern architecture and engineering
  • is for a church in Cumming, Georgia

While these are pretty funny (and/or disturbing, depending upon your point-of-view), these are reputation management nightmares. Sadly, they were all preventable — usually with merely a well-placed hyphen or change in keywords. could have saved themselves a lot of embarrassment by choosing or instead.