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.
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 Shāshìbǐyà… 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?