I often browse the web by grabbing text and dragging it into my Google Toolbar, which will open a new search page. It will open up a website for me, in the event that I drag a domain name into the search window.

I don’t expect I’m alone in exhibiting this kind of search behaviour, but there is a problem. Many firms, including some big brands, do not cater for a www-less version of their domain name.

For example, look at Currys, the multichannel electrical retailer. If you type in www.currys.co.uk you will be taken to the company’s homepage. But if you forget the www then you’ll be directed to a ‘cannot find server’ error page. Oops.

So which other brands are guilty of this?

Here’s my top ten:

M&Shttp://mands.com redirects to www.marksandspencer.com, yet http://marksandspencer.com doesn’t work!

Sainsbury’s – doesn’t work without the www prefix.

Barclaycard – weirdly this works without the www for .co.uk but not for .com.

Cahoot – takes you nowhere if you forget the www. Pureplay internet brands have no excuse! Get it fixed!

Habitat – lovely products but a horrible Flash website and an odd domain strategy as .co.uk doesn’t work without the www and in any case directs to an international doorway page. However .net works with or without the Ws.

La Senza – Theo, I’m ‘out’, unless I use the www prefix.

Oddbins – nothing.

Orange – doesn’t work without the Ws.

Topshop – not so top when it comes to no Ws.

WH Smith – should re-brand as WWWHSmith.

Can you find any others?

Chris Lake

Published 29 September, 2006 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (3)


Rob Lewis, Managing Director at WV4 Design

As well as ensuring that the domain name works without the www, they should also try to make it work with ww and wwww, which are also common typos.


almost 12 years ago


David Bancroft, managing director at reverse delta

A bit geeky, but there is a campaign, along with its own button to proudly display on your WWW-free site.



almost 12 years ago


Andreas - news of the future

The biggest mobile phone service provider in Switzerland: http://swisscom-mobile.com

Check out my blog-entry concerning this topic:

over 10 years ago

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