The Hall of Unwanted Dotcoms was a list of 20 unwanted dotcom names, all one syllable, easy to pronounce and seven letters or fewer. In the intensely competitive market of dotcom names, it struck me as strange that there were any such words left at all.
It also raises some interesting questions. What makes one made-up word more commercially desirable than another? Can a word be so intrinsically ugly that it has no market value? Why do we perceive some words as ugly? Could ‘gludge’ not mean something beautiful?
With such questions in mind, it’s been fascinating to release these 20 unwanted words out into the wild and track their progress. Many of the names were snapped up quickly when the post went up on Creative Review.
As far as I can tell, Thlunk was the first to go on 19 September. Not the one I would have picked as the main contender.
Nine names were claimed on the 20 September: Gludge, Blorph, Frunge, Brolge, Crench, Klorp, Strebb, Phlut and Grulch.
Gruld and Blarse took a while longer to shift, eventually finding owners on 21 September, while Splegg and Thrord followed on 24 September.
After an uncomfortable hiatus, Prork was claimed on 4 October. As one of the five-letter words, I had expected this to go sooner.
To date, only one of these sites has any proper content, if you can call it that:
Thanks to Marcus for creating gludge.com
Most of the rest are generic holding pages. Nevertheless, there is something touching about seeing these words take on a life of their own.
And rest assured I will try again later, Klorp.
So who’s buying these names? Most of the owners are anonymous, although a search on whois reveals some information about their whereabouts. As far as I can tell, klorp.com and grulch.com belong to the same guy in Germany. Brolge.com has an owner in New Jersey. And prork.com went to someone in Sydney.
Over in the Creative Review comments, a nice fellow called Jimmy admitted to buying splegg.com and thrord.com. He notes that splegg already has a useful meaning in Northern Irish slang, referring to “a situation which is too cool for any other words.” He opted for thrord on a more random basis, with a view to creating “a website involving a word with no existing definition”. I’ll certainly share it here if it happens.
If you’ve bought one of the other domains and are reading this, it would be great to hear from you. I would really like to track these stories.
But finally we must look solemnly at the remaining names in the Hall of Unwanted Dotcoms. The unwanted of the unwanted.
As of 15.00 on 4 October 2012, these five names remain unclaimed:
I have to say I’m surprised by throdge and sprolge and have high hopes for them in the future.
But I’m also impressed by the astuteness of the readership. Wrimb is something of a turkey in the list. Five letters, which is good. But it doesn’t really pass the pronunciation test. Say it out loud over the phone and you’d immediately have to explain how it was spelt.
The same could be argued of skrolch, which could be spelt with a ‘c’. (That said, I’ve just noticed scrolch.com is also available, so a smart buyer might go for them as a pair to cover all bases.)
Plooped is no surprise. It’s past tense and already has a suggestion of a meaning, and not a very nice one. No one is going to buy plooped.
More updates soon.