Fun with domain names

From Doug Harris in e-mail recently:

I had occasion, yesterday, to seek the owner of the internet’s top-level domain name .ck. When I googled it, I was pointed to, among other info sources, that of Wikipedia. We — you, I and a lot of others — never cease to be amazed how many people have way too much time on their hands, and find all sorts of silly ways to use it
It’s the domain name for the Cook Islands, and it’s lent itself to some playfulness.
From Wikipedia:

.ck is the Internet country code top-level domain … for the Cook Islands

In the British sitcom Nathan Barley, the principal character registers his website, “trashbat”, in the Cook Islands simply so that it has the amusing “.co.ck” suffix, which he always pronounces “dot cock.” [There is no actual co.ck.]

On the sitcom:

Nathan Barley is a Channel 4 sitcom written by Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris, starring Nicholas Burns, Julian Barratt, Charlie Condou and Claire Keelan. The series of six weekly episodes began broadcasting on 11 February 2005 on Channel 4. Described by his creator as a “meaningless strutting cadaver-in-waiting”, the character originated on Brooker’s TVGoHome – a website parodying television listings – as the focus of a fly-on-the-wall documentary called Cunt. (link)

I haven’t seen it, but it sounds wonderfully outrageous.

And on the Cook Islands:

The Cook Islands … is a parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand.

(Note the singular verb agreement. The Cook Islands is the name of a political entity, so is, or at least can be, treated as grammatically singular, despite its internal morphology (and its reference to a collection of islands). Similarly for other proper names that are formally plural, which often show divided usage: as I’ve noted, the Stanford linguistics house band, Dead Tongues, was referred to sometimes with singular agreement, sometimes with plural.)

Doug Harris also pointed me to the domain name .tf:

.tf is the Internet country code top-level domain … for the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (France). (link)

Why .tf? you ask. Well, from the French:

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF), or, in full, the Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Territoire des Terres australes et antarctiques françaises) (link)

The domain name .tf has lent itself, inevitably I suppose, to a mid-level name what.tf:

What.tf is a social web-hosting service. Classic web-hosting companies provides some services depending on a price: the more you pay the best you have. We do not. At what.tf we do not have such limitation, you have access to everything… for free. (link)

(As it happens, I’m wearing my Whiskey Tango Foxtrot t-shirt today.)

So you can register a site x.what.tf, for an x of your choice.

Closely related to .ck politically and geographically is .tk, though I haven’t come up with good way to mess with the domain name:

.tk is the Internet country code top-level domain … for Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific. (link)

Tokelau … is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 km² (3.86 mi²) and a population of approximately 1,400. (link)

The South Pacific has some other cool domain names, in particular .tv and .to:

The domain name .tv is the Internet country code top-level domain … for the islands of Tuvalu. (link)

Tuvalu …, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. (link)

.to is the Internet country code top-level domain … of the island kingdom of Tonga (link)

Tonga …, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a sovereign state and an archipelago comprising 176 islands scattered over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of the southern Pacific Ocean. (link)

Lots of opportunities here.

5 Responses to “Fun with domain names”

  1. Licia Says:

    No entertainment value here, but maybe it’s worth adding the clever usage of the top-level domain code for Italy by the California-based content curation platform Scoop.it!

  2. Norval Smith Says:

    .nu is the top-level code for Niue – I believe the smallest independent country in the world. Anyway “nu” is Dutch for ‘now’, and is used by some Dutch companies for their websites. To my disappointment, my favourite waterbedden.nu (“waterbeds now”) is now routed directly to Allesvoormijnwaterbed.nl (“everything for my waterbed”).

  3. JackH Says:

    There’s a .cat domain name, which allows fat.cat, etc.

  4. Will Says:

    .me (Montenegro) and .us are others I’ve seen played with, thanks to their pronominal resemblance.

    The .cat domain is controversial in Spain, because as a subnational entity (it’s politically an autonomous community, not a state or country) it isn’t supposed to have a separate top-level domain name, so its use, even as a regional/transnational code, is a strong political statement.

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