Dan's Domain Site | Fame & Shame | Hall of Fame

Dan's Domain Site

Hall of Fame

I've had a Hall of Shame up for a long time highlighting abuses and misuses of domain names; that's getting distressingly long these days, even though I'm only adding the stuff that I find the most extremely silly. Since finding proper uses of the domain name system are getting comparatively rare these days, I thought I'd add a more positive-toned section listing a few exemplary cases of people, companies, and other organizations doing the right thing. (See my structure notes for more information on the proper use of domain names.)

  • Just about every sales receipt you get these days from any store or fast-food restaurant has a little blurb asking you to complete a survey; the marketing types seem to be obsessed with surveys these days. Many of them use Stupid Unnecessary Domain Names™ like OurStoreNameSurvey.com, but the "Hall of Fame" positive mention goes to the much-maligned Walmart, which may have lots of other grounds on which people can criticize them, but not on the basis of illogical domain use: their sales-receipt survey address is the logical subdomain survey.walmart.com.
  • It may be a joke candidacy, but at least Stephen Colbert's 2008 Presidential campaign had the cluefulness (or truthiness?) to use a proper .org address for its campaign site, instead of .com like practically all other candidates.
  • Congratulations to the U.S. military for using the proper .mil TLD for its new, high-profile defendamerica.mil site, unlike some other sites of theirs that use inappropriate .com domains.
  • Cingular Wireless, a cell phone provider, moves from the Hall of Shame to the Hall of Fame due to changes in their method of online bill display. Formerly, they emailed you a notice that a new bill was online, with a link that sent you to an address in bellsouth.com, which forwarded to the cingular.com home page (where you had to try to figure out where to go to actually find your bill...), at which point you had to select your local area (requiring JavaScript), and you ended up on a page in sbc.com. There, you once again needed to figure out which of the many items to select, which turned out to be one that opened up a new browser window that went to a page in cingular.com. A really convoluted procedure, involving pages in three different domains, which gained a place in the "Indecision / Schizophrenia" section of the Hall of Shame. However, they have since greatly simplified things, and get a spot on the Hall of Fame for using the logical subdomain bill.cingular.com.
  • Another "reformed" former Hall-Of-Shamer: The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association does have the logical address you'd expect -- ctia.org -- but at one point they just made it redirect to their (then) real address, the silly wow-com.com, which sounds like a silly startup company from the dot-bomb era rather than a respectable industry association. Thankfully, they eventually changed this and are using the sensible .org address directly.
  • Google deserves some credit for sensible use of subdomains (despite a few lapses noted in the Hall of Shame). One notable subdomain they're using lately is ipo.google.com for the official site of their much-ballyhooed stock offering. Many or most other companies would probably put such a site in a Stupid Unnecessary Domain Name™, but Google used a proper subdomain.
  • Meetup, a site to let people who share common interests organize meetings around the world, uses subdomains extensively, like harrypotter.meetup.com for Harry Potter fans.
  • When Wal-Mart opened an online music download store, they used a logical subdomain, musicdownloads.walmart.com, instead of some Stupid Unnecessary Domain Name™.
  • Apple's online store also went that logical route, with store.apple.com.
  • The Libertarian Party of California uses the logical subdomain ca.lp.org for its Web site and email addresses. The national LP offers such subdomains to all the state party affiliates, and some of them have taken them up on it, but others have gone with unnecessary and inconsistent domains of their own. California takes the logical hierarchy one step further by offering subdomains at the next level to its county affiliates, such as Ventura County.
  • PerlMongers uses subdomains in a logical way to denote each of its many chapters.
  • Leftist "alternative news site" IndyMedia.org makes extensive use of subdomains for its large network of affiliated sites based in various countries and cities.
  • Wikipedia is another site using subdomains properly, for its various multilingual sites such as en.wikipedia.org. It also uses .org instead of .com to emphasize its noncommercial nature.
  • The state of Pennsylvania is now featuring their official URL on their license plates -- and, amazingly, it's the proper subdomain of .us -- www.state.pa.us -- not some .com abomination concocted by an empty-headed marketing type.
  • The U.S. State Department uses a logical subdomain, careers.state.gov, for their recruitment site (widely advertised), rather than using some silly dot-com address.
  • Palm Beach Community College used the correct domain designation for community colleges, even though it was a bit lengthy -- pbcc.cc.fl.us -- but now that the rules for .edu have been relaxed a little, they can use a shorter, but still logical, address, pbcc.edu. Congratulations to them for never yielding to the dark side of the force and switching to a .com atrocity.
  • Protect Live Music, a protest campaign to stop a proposed Federal law that imposes expansive liability for concert organizers if any drug use takes place there, properly uses a .org domain for its noncommercial site.
  • Another noncommercial site, The Leaky Cauldron, an excellent news source about anything related to Harry Potter, also uses the proper .org TLD.
  • Neway, "a non-profit organization helping people and families become debt free", actually uses the proper TLD for non-profits, .org. This puts them a cut above some similar organizations that boast about their nonprofit status but incongruously use .com addresses.
  • PopTopix is doing a family of related "portal" sites (in the area of pop music) the right way -- by using logical subdomians like britneyspears.poptopix.com -- instead of registering heaps of different domains with a common substring like many other sites do.
  • Playboy actually has a clue about subdomains; their auction site is located, and advertised, in the logical subdomain auctions.playboy.com. (However, they don't follow through logically with their other sites; their online store is at playboystore.com instead of the more logical store.playboy.com.)
  • CitySearch is doing a large family of related sites in the right way -- by using subdomains of their main domain, like miami.citysearch.com, instead of using heaps of separate domains. (Well, actually, some spot-checking has shown that they did register a bunch of extra domains anyway, like miamicitysearch.com, but I'll still give them credit for advertising and using the proper subdomain version, with the other domains just redirecting to the correct ones.)
  • Whatever.nike.com, heavily promoted on Nike's TV ads, would seem to be a rare example of major marketing-driven companies actually getting things right regarding the use of subdomains instead of registering a new domain for every silly slogan... until you actually go there, and find that the subdomain actually just redirects to the unnecessary-domain-du-jour, whatevernike.com. They still get some points with me for promoting the site using the subdomain address, thus helping to educate the public about the existence of subdomains, but apparently they lacked sufficient confidence that people would actually remember to type the extra "dot".
  • On the other hand, newcrv.honda.com, promoted in TV commercials as the official site for Honda's new CRV, uses a proper subdomain and stays in that subdomain when you go there -- no Stupid Unnecessary Domain Names™ are used here as far as I can see. Good for Honda!
  • The Evil Empire™, Microsoft, actually wins a Hall of Fame mention, too, by promoting as the entry address for a marketing-gimmick MSN signup try.msn.com, a logical subdomain of MSN's site rather than a Stupid Unnecessary Domain Name™. Well, when you go there it redirects to a page in join.msn.com, so there are maybe some Silly Unnecessary Subdomain Names™ in play, but that's a petty sin compared to using lots of illogically-different second-level names.
  • Yahoo, which has a few entries in the "Hall of Shame" for unnecessary domains, still mostly deserves credit for proper domain use; they make proper use of many subdomains of their main domain, such as chat.yahoo.com.
  • Since I bash Citibank elsewhere for silly use of domains, I have to note positively that one of their recent marketing-gimmick mailings directs people to a properly-used subdomain: www.toysweepstakes.citibank.com. For once, they didn't insist on registering a different domain for every marketing gimmick.
  • In the same vein, ETrade showed some cluefulness in one of their recent promotions, which directed customers to edplan.etrade.com for an offer regarding education planning.
  • Cable TV provider Adelphia recently started offering automatic bill payments, and publicized a URL to sign up for this service. For a change, it's a logical subdomain, www.autopay.adelphia.com instead of a Stupid Unnecessary Domain Name™ as many companies use in such circumstances.
  • Unlike some other Mensa chapters, St. Louis Mensa uses the proper logical subdomain, stlouis.us.mensa.org for their chapter site. Good for them!
  • The Better Business Bureau gives proper subdomains of bbb.org to its chapters. Unfortunately, not all of them use them; some have gone on their own and gotten unnecessary and inconsistent domains. Stranger yet, some chapters use the proper subdomain for their website but registered a separate domain for their email address, while others did "vice versa" and used the proper subdomain for their email and registered a different domain for their website. You'd think they'd at least be consistent with their own addresses. Still, many of the chapters do do the right thing, and the national HQ makes it possible by providing such subdomains.
  • The Lyndon B. Johnson Library has (so far) resisted the urge to get some silly dot-com name for itself, using instead the subdomain lbjlib.utexas.edu, which is perfectly logical given that they're housed by the University of Texas.
  • Maryland's tax office gets the special honor of being on both my Hall of Shame and Hall of Fame lists. They got on the Shame list for their use of an inappropriate "dot-com" domain, marylandtaxes.com. But I'm simultaneously saluting them for making sensible use of subdomains within it; their subsites include business.marylandtaxes.com, individuals.marylandtaxes.com, ifile.marylandtaxes.com, interactive.marylandtaxes.com, and taxpros.marylandtaxes.com. So where does that put them on the clueful vs. clueless meter? I guess it averages out to "halfwit" level...
  • Unlike the American Idol show, on my "Hall of Shame" for putting its site at idolonfox.com, the Nashville Star show on the USA Network shows more logical structure, and gets on my "Hall of Fame", by putting its site at nashvillestar.usanetwork.com.
  • Actually, the USA Network is very good at using logical subdomains for its sites; their show about an obsessive-compulsive detective (a lot like me in personality!), Monk, is at monk.usanetwork.com.

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This page was first created 18 Mar 2001, and was last modified 07 May 2011.
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