To raise awareness around the importance of choosing the right domain for your business we created the Namesco Worst Domain Name Award! This award recognises the key mistakes businesses can make when registering their website address. These include registering a website address of no relevance to the company to long or bizarre web domains, all of which can cause extensive confusion for staff and customers trying to find the right address.

We have already drawn up a list of poorly thought out URLs that are complicated, confusing and often unintentionally hilarious. All of these are examples of domain names that are likely to lose customers or even attract a completely different audience than initially intended. You can view these and add your own suggestions on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/namesco or tweet @Namesco. Next week we’ll hold a poll of the top 10 worst names discovered, where you can vote for your favorite on Facebook.

Our pick of the Worst Domain Names on the Web

Terrible Web 2.0 name: http://www.profilactic.com/ is a social media aggregator and life-streaming service. It could also be confused with a medical Prophylactic

Spoonerisms: Pen Island, a company which specialises in personalized pens, amazingly didn’t see the problems with registering www.penisland.net

Fart gags: Graphic designers Speed of Art also managed to register the more puerile: www.speedofart.com

Giving the wrong idea: www.kidsexchange.net – this US website encourages people to buy and recycle their things, bringing in extra income for kids. But it could easily be read as ‘Kid sex change’.

Two choices: Meanwhile www.choosespain.com – a travel website for Spain – could be read as ‘chooses pain’.

Foreign Names: While foreign sounding names have been successful for web 2.0 companies like Hulu.com, others are harder to convey on the phone: http://www.jwaala.com/

Just uncool: Having a poor name and extension at the end for your website address is not ‘cool’: http://www.cuil.pt/

Web 2.0 names that got dropped: Host meeting service www.dimdim.com was a hot new startup with a silly dotcom name and website address, until Salesforce.com acquired the company.

Typo-friendly: Likewise www.eefoof.com did not last long as a business with its unpronounceable web domain.

Our Worst Domain Name Awards were inspired by a story about Only Fools and Horses. Apparently when its writer John Sullivan started the show he didn’t consider what Trotter’s Independent Traders spelt until half way through the first series when he saw the acronym on their famous Robin Reliant. This unintentional joke reflects the common mistake many small businesses make when they found their company – forgetting to register your domain name first and having to settle for an awkward name for the rest of your business life is no laughing matter.

Every year we see hundreds of UK businesses that register their domain name without properly thinking about the consequences of having to say that name on the phone every single day. Remember once you’ve chosen your domain it this will grace your business cards and email signature so it’s important to get it right at the start. We hope these awards will draw attention to the issue for small businesses in the UK.

While small businesses can take easy steps to avoid registering poor domain names by checking if their domain name is available at www.names.co.uk, this problem still affects even the largest companies. Microsoft last week announced their Smartglass technology for TVs and Xbox and acted quickly to register every permeation of the name ‘smartglass’. While they managed to secure smartglass.info they still failed to register the more lucrative smartglass.com.

The winner of the Names.co.uk Worst Domain Name Award will be announced at the end of June – so make sure you submit your best contenders at www.facebook.com/namesco