Written by Dotty Winters

In The News

URL, no you are

The EU Out campaign messed up its domain name Big Time. Pffft, says Dotty Winters.


Rick Astley: not officially endorsing either side in the EU referendum.

Don’t you just hate admin and being organised? Do you leave the house and find yourself wondering if you left the gas on? Do you get to work and realise you have odd shoes on? Do you launch a major political campaign and realise that you accidentally forgot to register the web domain and it now leads to a video of Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up?

Come on, folks, we’ve all done it. Don’t believe me? Check out the EU referendum ‘Out’ campaign at www.voteleave.co.uk.

So in honour of one of the finest examples of Rickrolling ever, here are some other people who should have spent less time bouncing about in a leather jacket and bit more time registering their URLs. Not buying the URL for your business or campaign before you launch is a pretty big error, but it turns out there are other ways to fuck up online.

Never going to give you up

Securing the right domain name is just the start of the game. You also need to remember to renew it, so you don’t lose it. Some of the worst offenders in this field are companies who should know better, including Microsoft who at different times managed to neglect to renew both their Hotmail and Passport sites.

"Hang on... did I remember to renew my own site?" Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

“Hang on… did I remember to renew my own site?” Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Never going to let you down

Sometimes the time to devote yourself to admin and planning is right at the start, when you pick the website you want. The internet abounds with brilliant examples of people who were so keen to grab a web domain they scrimped on common sense. My favourites:

• Nobjs.org (I was disappointed to discover that with was in fact the
home of North of Boston Jewish Singles, obvs)
• Therapistinabox.com (Schrodinger’s sex criminal)
• Lesbocages.com (Sometimes French isn’t the classiest option)
• Speedofart.com (Depends what I’ve eaten, thanks for asking)
• Americanscrapmetal.com (Ouch! Time to cut down on fortified breakfast cereals)
• Choosespain.com (For people who REALLY hate tapas)
• Masterbaitonline.com (Because it’s hard to spell well when you are ‘busy’)

Never going to run around

Get this wrong and before you know it, the website you’ve been promoting takes people somewhere quite different. In ascending order, here are the finest examples of websites that took people somewhere quite different, and in all cases presented fascinating opportunities for ‘learning’:

• Heinz ran its ‘Fundorado’ competition until 2014. It allowed customers to scan a QR code which took them to a website where they could design their own label. Nice! The competition ended and so they stopped renewing the web domain, completely underestimating quite how long we keep a bottle of ketchup for. Scan the QR code now and you have quite a different adventure on a Not At All Safe For Work porn site, where they demonstrate all 57 varieties.

• Open Door Church is well known for some strong and fiercely homophobic messaging. It is a well-known FACT that homophobes are often just protesting too much, so it was probably excellent news for some members of this congregation when they lost their website to a hardcore gay porn channel. I bet they kept checking back to make sure it was still sinful.

• When an organisation calling itself Overweight Haters Ltd started fat-shaming commuters on the London underground it was so busy being a dick that it forgot to keep an eye on its task list. Heroes Navabi Fashion snapped up www.overweighthaters.com and used their superior brainpower for good.

And desert you

Of course, while I urge you to keep on top of your admin, you should also make sure you definitely need to keep on renewing. Maybe sometimes it’s time to recognise that the internet is just not that into you anymore. Can someone take www.myspace.com aside and stage a gentle intervention?


Rick Astley is currently on a tour of the UK. Find out more here: http://www.rickastley.co.uk

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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.