How Do You Pronounce Your Domain Name?


I was listening to a podcast recently which was kind enough to mention one of my blog posts. The presenter said:

...and you should Google for this, because I'm really not sure how to pronounce this. Is it shu-huk-spur? dot mobby?

Le sigh! It's a conversation I have most weeks when I'm on the phone to someone - usually a call centre - and they ask for my email address.

"Sierra Hotel Kilo Sierra Papa Romeo Dot Mike Oscar Bravo India"

Whereupon I am inevitably asked:

Is that dot com or dot co dot UK at the end, sir?

Yes! I have chosen an almost unpronounceable domain on an obscure TLD. Woe is me!

Originally, I thought this wouldn't be a problem. Typing in the domain is quick and easy. But a surprising number of organisations still insist on taking personal data over the phone. Which means more reading out the phonetic spelling.

Frustratingly, a large number of websites refuse to accept .mobi as a valid TLD for email addresses. The geniuses who coded them appeared to think that every email address must end with a 3 character (.com, .org, .net) or 2 character (.uk, .de, .io) sequence. Despite the fact that there are dozens of domains which don't fit in this restriction.

Doubling Down

Being the belligerent sod that I am, I refuse to give in to the tyranny of the spoken word! We live in an digital world and digital data should be communicated by digital means. I want to impart information like my email address over the wire - not over the phone.

Regular readers will know that I was thwarted in my quest to buy a .中国 domain - but I did manage to grab http://莎士比亚.org/.

I think I'm going to move my primary email to that domain. When I get some call-centre who won't let me fill in a form online to give them my details, I shall very politely say my email address is:

Eden - yes, like the garden - at Shā​shì​bǐ​yà... Oh, of course, the stroke order is... Well, no, it's a Mandarin Chinese domain... No... No... Fine, would you like the punycode representation? Hello?

I'll also refuse to do business when any organisation which doesn't recognise IDN email addresses. That'll show 'em!

Perhaps I'll also move this blog over to that domain as well. I wonder what impact speakability has on SEO?

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9 thoughts on “How Do You Pronounce Your Domain Name?

  1. Having an a in my name, I amused myself a dozen years ago by buying a domain that would let me use the email address "myname".com with the simple replacement of the a with an @ sign. Confused? You've already had to perform some visualisation and substitution in your mind's eye to work it out, I'd expect. Much as has everyone I've ever tried to give it to by phone. It's [email protected]. Wonderfully easy written down. But spoken? "Yes, it's p at ulclarke.com" - "can you spell ulclarke for me" "it's - it's like my whole name with the a replaced by the at sign" "sorry, how do you spell ulclarke?" - and after the hundredth missed email having been sent to [email protected] I gave in and created the [email protected] alias. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit. Or perhaps I should just have bought aulclarke.com and redirected that...

  2. My last name is Hornsby. I thought it was awesome and clever to purchase the domain name horns.by. It looks great, but is a pain to try and tell somebody my email address. Is that HORNS DOT BYE, HORNS DOT BEE? No, I always have to say "HORNS DOT BEE WHY, spelled just like my name, but with a dot. No, that is HOTEL OSCAR ROMEO NOVEMBER SIERRA DOT BRAVO YANKEE." Not as cool as I originally thought it was.

    1. Interesting that you mention the Hors.by domain. I've bought hens.by, and never struggle giving it over the phone, occasionally the odd "is that it?" after ending with "dot bee why", but they get it pretty quickly.

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