Who doesn't own their .com?
September 24, 2009 8:42 AM   Subscribe

What are some examples of a large company or brand not owning or using the "obvious" domain name like company.com or brand.com? Examples from the past would also be useful.
posted by smackfu to Computers & Internet (45 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The classic example is that Nissan Motor Company still uses nissanusa.com and nissan-global.com because Nissan Computer Corp got nissan.com first.

Southwest Airlines used to use iflyswa.com because southwest.com was taken.
posted by jedicus at 8:44 AM on September 24, 2009

Bombay.com was a link to Bombay Sapphire Rum, not Bombay Trading. I'm pretty sure this is why they went out of business.
posted by jefficator at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2009

I believe for a while Delta.com was the faucet (or maybe the financial co.) not the airline.
posted by pointystick at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2009

posted by davebush at 8:47 AM on September 24, 2009

Whitehouse.com is also a favorite.
posted by jefficator at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2009

Oh, Morrison & Foerster, a large law firm (> 1,000 attorneys), uses mofo.com instead of morrisonfoerster.com. Oddly enough, they own morrisonfoerster.com but it doesn't redirect to mofo.com, instead it shows a generic placeholder page.
posted by jedicus at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Relatedly, there was a cool list of "generic" websites in the form of a Sporcle quiz.
posted by kmz at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2009

The UK hardware chain B&Q uses diy.com as its domain.
posted by misteraitch at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2009

If your first guess for Python's (the programming language) website is not python.org, you're in for a wild not-safe-for-work shock.
posted by DiamondGFX at 8:53 AM on September 24, 2009

The onion used theonion.com for a long time until they finally convinced the guy who owned onion.com to sell.
posted by mikepop at 8:53 AM on September 24, 2009

B&H (the massive photography/technology supplier in NYC) doesn't own bh.com or bandh.com, but instead uses bhphotovideo.com.
posted by Plutor at 8:54 AM on September 24, 2009

The webcomic Penny Arcade uses penny-arcade.com, while pennyarcade.com brings up a generic page offering "What you need, when you need it".
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:56 AM on September 24, 2009

Australian clothing company Cue set themselves up as Cue.cc in the mid 90s.
posted by wingless_angel at 8:56 AM on September 24, 2009

The cable channel Bravo owns BravoTV.com, not Bravo.com. I used to work there, and the rumor was that the president of the network, Lauren Zalaznick, used to keep Bravo.com as her browser start-up page to check every day if the guy who owned Bravo.com had either finally given it up or was trying to mooch off of Bravo's popularity and brand by running content that might get it confused for the channel, in which case they could sic the lawyers on him and try to grab the name.

The network's website was up for an Emmy again this year, and even the Emmy nominee listings put the wrong URL on their list.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:59 AM on September 24, 2009

This is going back quite a ways to before the whole Internet gold rush, but there was an article in an early issue about Wired about how neither Mcdonalds nor Burger King owned their appropriate domain names.
posted by adamrice at 9:04 AM on September 24, 2009

Following the airline theme, Northwest Airlines uses nwa.com. northwest.com is a site about travel in the Northwestern US.

It was the result of a legal battle rather than getting-there-first, but gmail.de is not the German Google Mail site, but rather a competing email service.
posted by jedicus at 9:07 AM on September 24, 2009

Oasis (the band) use oasisinet.com.

Odd suffixes (there's probably a better term for this) are popular: five.tv, muse.mu.
posted by mippy at 9:08 AM on September 24, 2009

A lot of companies have their industry combined with their name for a domain, usually because someone else got their name. This is especially common when the company's name isn't unusual. For example, bicycle companies Trek and Jamis are trekbikes.com and jamisbikes.com; Giant is giant-bicycles.com.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2009

martinlutherking.org has been used by a racist/hate site while the legit site is slightly different.
Reference: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/23104/hate-group-7
posted by pointystick at 9:11 AM on September 24, 2009

Music/video/book/game/etc. store chain Hastings uses gohastings.com.
posted by The Deej at 9:16 AM on September 24, 2009

Freakanomics blog asked readers for answers to a similar question (nissan.com won). A lot of repeats of what was already mentioned here but some new ones worth looking into.
posted by traco at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

peta.com used to go to People Eating Tasty Animals
I'm not sure what the 'normal' PETA used
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

The musician Pink does not have pink.com, Dick's Sporting Goods does not have dicks.com

A counterpoint: BJ's Wholesale Club does have bjs.com, so I believe they must have been the first site on the Internet.
posted by coryinabox at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

Atlanta's transit system, MARTA, is found at itsmarta.com because marta.com is owned by a Spanish girl of the same name. She used to have a link at the very top of her page to direct you to Atlanta's transit site, but no longer does.
posted by bengarland at 9:26 AM on September 24, 2009

Search engine AltaVista was originally at altavista.digital.com and eventually paid $3m for altavista.com
posted by malevolent at 9:27 AM on September 24, 2009

emmys.com vs emmy.com
posted by kidsleepy at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2009

apple.co.uk leads to an illustration company and not who you would think....
posted by nunoidia at 9:42 AM on September 24, 2009

ESPN is espn.go.com.
CNET News used to be news.com.com.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2009

re: pennyarcade.com

It used to be a personal / art site of a girl who called her self "Penny Arcade"... I assume that at some point she sold it or repurposed it for the hypothetical fat cash.
posted by utsutsu at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2009

Denver's bus system is unmemorably rtd-denver.com

Wheat Ridge Cycles (one of the largest bicycle stores in the country) is ridewrc.com
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2009

ESPN used to be espn.com, the redirect to the go.com site happened after Disney bought them out. So I don't know if that counts.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2009

Following up on the cnet.com.com, my first ISP (Internet Atlanta) used to own www.com. This was about 15 years ago. It really confused the hell out of me when I had to type www.www.com to access their site... I didn't understand that the middle "www" was actually a domain name.
posted by bengarland at 11:30 AM on September 24, 2009

Americaneagle.com is owned by a web development firm, and not by the clothing company or the airline.
posted by marteki at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2009

One of the Avis family of truck rentals (Ryder, Hertz or something along those lines) used to use yellowtruck.com as their domain but it isn't working now. They still own it however.
posted by mmascolino at 12:42 PM on September 24, 2009

Wilco the Band (that put out Wilco the Album) has www.wilcoworld.net instead of www.wilco.com, which I always thought was weird. I think wilco.com is about lasers.
posted by elmer benson at 1:00 PM on September 24, 2009

They also have the normal one now (and it redirects), but I always snickered at mmm.com.
posted by rokusan at 1:13 PM on September 24, 2009

Free graphics editor Paint.NET was beaten to the obvious punch by Warren Paint & Color Co. ("the mid-south's leading paint manufacturer"!), but the company was generous enough to turn www.paint.net into a two-way redirect to either their main site at warrenpaint.com or the software site at getpaint.net.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:47 PM on September 24, 2009

newyorkyankees.com wasn't originally owned by Steinbrenner.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:58 PM on September 24, 2009

It's even more surprising to me when it's a web company doing it. 37Signals does this for all their products: , BaseCamp is basecamphq.com, Highrise is highrisehq.com, Backpack is backpackit.com, Campfire is campfirenow.com.

They started a bit of a trend, too: Harvest is getharvest.com, and there's a couple other "get" and "use" ones that are escaping me right now.

To me the mother of all "couldn't get the domain they wanted" was the Echo Bay Technology Group that launched a certain auction site.
posted by mendel at 5:58 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

As I recall, White Castle (the fast food chain) didn't use to have (or at least use) whitecastle.com; since their slogan was "What You Crave" they used whatyoucrave.com.
posted by Godbert at 6:32 PM on September 24, 2009

I have read that for a long time, holidayinn.com was owned by some little mom and pop motel.
posted by lakeroon at 8:56 PM on September 24, 2009

another airline, frontier.com is not Frontier airlines but frontier communications.
posted by dr. fresh at 8:57 PM on September 24, 2009

World's biggest drilling rig contractor, Transocean. Not a carpet supplier apparently.
posted by arcticseal at 8:45 AM on September 25, 2009

A & W Root Beer is rootbeer.com.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:26 PM on September 25, 2009

Another in the list of band names: Styx is at Styxworld.com.
posted by kristi at 10:34 AM on September 29, 2009

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