Wonderful World of Weird Domains

In this “light” article, we are exploring the strangest domain names on the Web. What you are about to see are some of the weirdest domain names I’ve stumbled upon in my 20+ years of experience dealing with domain names. I don’t say this lightly.

I registered domain names for my businesses and clients when I ran a web hosting business. Also worth noting, I’ve been flipping domain names, and I’ve done pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to domain names.

In the vast and ever-expanding universe of the internet, domain names serve as the virtual addresses that guide us through the digital landscape. While most websites opt for straightforward and easily memorable names, a peculiar subset of the web exists that revels in the weird, wacky, and downright bizarre.

Join me on a journey through the annals of the internet as we explore some of the most peculiar domain names ever registered.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Weird Domains.

Freakishly long domain name

Let’s kick off our list with a domain name that’s as long as it can be. As you can see, this domain journey is going to be fun but also educational. If you are wondering how long a domain name can be (Fully Qualified Domain Name), I explained that in another article. Here, I’ll say it’s limited to 63 characters (the name), and then the entire FQDN is limited to 255 characters.

FQDN consists of a subdomain, domain name, and TLD (top-level domain) such as .com. This domain name was registered as a promotional stunt for a village in Wales, Great Britain.

Open the website here: llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.co.uk

Cybersecurity domain name

Wannacry domain

Back in May 2017, there was malicious software (which arrived as an email with an attachment in your inbox), and it attacked over 200,000 users in over 150 countries. It was called Wannacry (a.k.a. WCry, WannaCry, WanaCrypt0r, WannaCrypt, Wana Decrypt0r), and what stopped it was a single domain registration.

Rest assured, the domain name is still registered, and here is the current whois record, fetched with our Live Whois API.

Whois record for the domain name that stopped Wannacry on May 2017.
Whois record for the domain name that stopped Wannacry on May 2017.

I wrote an article about that, so if you want to learn the ins and outs of sinkholes, malware, and cybersecurity – keep reading here.

Open the sinkholed domain name: iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com

Is it about cars?

A story that’s captivated the attention of many in the domain name world is that of nissan.com. Car manufacturer Datsun rebranded in 1983 to Nissan. Since these were the early days of the domain names, they either didn’t think much when they were rebranding… or they thought they could get the nissan.com domain name.

Nissan.com domain name

Uzi Nissan (his actual name, and sadly, he died in July 2020 after he contracted COVID-19) registered the domain name and refused to sell it to the car manufacturer. Nissan is a rare occasion where a top brand doesn’t own a .com domain name with their name.

What makes this domain name weird is the story behind it. Someone owned it, someone else wanted it, lawyers fought, and in the end, the original owner prevailed. Even though seeing the domain name would lead you to believe it was about something else.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing much to see on the domain name as of January 2024.

Sex, lawyers, and rock-n-roll

Speaking of legal battles… Sex.com was reportedly sold to Escom LLC in January 2006. At a reported $14 million price. The domain name had widely been cited as the highest-priced domain sale. But not before it created a story ready for Hollywood production.

On October 18, 1995, Network Solutions transferred, without permission, the domain to Stephen M. Cohen, who had been trying to gain control of the domain for some time by misrepresentation, using phone calls, e-mails and forged letters. He eventually persuaded an employee of Network Solutions to change the ownership details by submitting a fake fax. The original owner entrepreneur Gary Kremen (who also founded Match.com and Clean Power Finance) then sued.

Source: Wikipedia
sex.com a short domain name

We started with very long domain names and ended up with a short three-letter .com domain. If you’ve read my article on three-letter domains, you would know these are very expensive, and there are not that many of them to begin with. Let alone a three-letter word. Definitely deserves a spot at the weird domain name table.

Million Dollar Domain

In one of the most epic tales of Internet get rich quick schemes, is the Million Dollar Homepage.

Weird domain names - Million Dollar Homepage

The Million Dollar Homepage is a website conceived by Alex Tew, a student from Wiltshire, England, to raise money for his university education. Launched in August 2005, the website’s concept involved selling 1 million pixels on a webpage for $1 each, allowing purchasers to display an image, a slogan, and a hyperlink to their own website. The concept quickly became a viral internet phenomenon, and the site successfully reached its $1 million goal.

In the years following its launch, the site faced issues common to websites of its era. Many of the links led to expired domains or were taken over by new owners unrelated to the original pixel purchasers. The site also faced challenges like link rot and spam, and some of the purchased pixels led to websites that no longer exist. Despite these challenges, the Million Dollar Homepage remains online as a testament to a unique moment in the early days of the internet and is sometimes cited in discussions about internet history and online advertising.

The Million Dollar Homepage is notable not just for its innovative approach to funding but also for inspiring a range of similar websites and online advertising experiments. However, it’s worth noting that while it was a success for its creator, the model didn’t prove to be sustainable or widely replicable, as the novelty of the concept was a significant factor in its success. The site stands as a snapshot of a specific time in internet history, capturing the ambitions and creativity of early online entrepreneurs.

A piece of The Million Dollar Homepage, a piece of Internet History.
A piece of The Million Dollar Homepage, a piece of Internet History.

One could argue that milliondollarhomepage.com isn’t a weird domain name, but a weird website. I think it’s a remarkable story, where you have an undenying fact that this domain name made a million dollars. Or a website.

See for yourself here: milliondollarhomepage.com

Wonderful World of Weird Domains

Looking for some inspiration on weird domains, I’ve found a funny list over at SEDO. Be sure to check it out.

  • penisland.com (is it PenIsland.com or PenisLand.com?)
  • whorepresents.com (is it WhoRepresents.com or WhorePresents.com?)
  • budget.co.ck (I give up…)
  • theplasticsexchange.com (ThePlasticsExchange.com or ThePlasticSexChange.com?)
  • therapistfinder.com (Finding therapists or rapists?)
  • speedofart.com (What is this SpeedyFart you speak of?)
  • itscrap.com (I agree)

If you are looking for more weird stories behind domain names, look no further than the famous domain expirations. There you can see domain names that expired in the worst possible moment.

The internet is a vast and varied landscape, teeming with creativity, eccentricity, and a healthy dose of the downright bizarre. From declarations of love to virtual encounters. The world of domain names is a playground for those seeking a unique online experience. These peculiar domains serve as a testament to the boundless imagination and humor that can be found in the far reaches of the web. So, the next time you find yourself traversing the digital highways, keep an eye out for the weird and wonderful domain names that make the internet a delightfully unpredictable place.

GoranDuskic

Goran Duskic has been the Founder and CEO of WhoAPI Inc. since 2011, a company that specializes in developing APIs, including the well-known Whois API. He started his career in internet entrepreneurship in 2006 and has co-founded several online businesses, including a web hosting company that he later sold. Goran's work primarily involves creating practical API solutions to meet technological needs.