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
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
- 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
Harry Potter fans.
- When Wal-Mart opened an online music download store, they used a logical
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
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
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.
Copyright © 2001-2011 by Daniel R. Tobias. All rights reserved.