Website Reviews: 341.com

I thought I’d mix in a little variety with this week’s Website Review by visiting three different URLs and offering one capsule report on each. So no, there’s no actual site called 341.com, and if there was, I can’t imagine what its focus would be, unless some obscure group had gotten worked up about Emperor Constans’ fourth-century ban of pagan sacrifices under the penalty of death, and his subsequent campaign against the Franks. While it’s true that everybody was always picking on the Franks, I like to think we’ve moved on to a post-Frankian society.

My first visit was to a site called sit4less.com. Anyone who has ever listened to National Public Radio for five minutes any afternoon since 2003 knows that this is the home page for a seller of chairs. It features “all colors of the Herman Miller Aeron chair, now including true black.” I’ve been entranced by this mercilessly repeated tagline almost every day on my drive home from work, so I thought I’d check it out.

Since I was going by pronunciation rather than a visual representation of the website name, I first tried sitforless.com with no luck. I realize now that in modern Internet communications “4” has become the new “for,” saving busy potential customers the trouble of two extra keystrokes. This reminded me how annoyed everyone is becoming with these contrived URLs that are designed to make us sit up and take notice but instead simply confuse us and degrade the language. We don’t want to sit up; we that’s why we’re hunched over our keyboards.

The latest trend in this regard seems to be overly long site names that are either too descriptive or else way too precious. For example, Volkswagen has a site called gohippiego.com, in the belief that there’s sales gold in appealing to a demographic that hasn’t been prominent for 40 years and, when it was, didn’t have any money. The new season of TV’s House is using snakesonacane.com in a confused reference to the fact that he uses a cane and is a practicing physician (snakes are featured on the AMA’s iconic Staff of Aesculapius and in a number of new less-invasive surgical techniques). Another favorite of mine is called ohcrapmyparentsjoinedfacebook.com.

At least these haven’t backfired like the ill-conceived web presence of the makers of fine writing instruments known as Pen Island, whose website penisland.com is getting surprising quantities of traffic, most of whom end up severely disappointed that the cylinders for sale spout only ink.

Anyway, back to Herman Miller and his truly black Aeron chair. The sit4less address offers a large number of office and massage chairs, as well as “home seating options,” by manufacturers you’ve never heard of and offered at prices you’d never pay. The Aeron is sold at a comparatively reasonable $849 but you can go as high as almost $6500 for the INADA Sogno Dreamwave massage chair. Other featured chair-makers range in comfort from the evocative Human Touch Perfect Chair to the Steelcase Leap Chair. There’s also the Zody Fully Loaded Black Chair, the Indie Expressivo Swivel Chair, and the HB Kneeler Perfect Fit Metal Kneeling Chair, one of those supposedly ergonomic contraptions that you mount rather than sit in. (Seems like mounting is not something you typically want to be doing at the office, especially if you have a performance review coming up.)

Speaking of awkward web names, I looked next at ourcountrydeservesbetter.com, a conservative political site that’s heavy into tea-bagging, tea parties, and all things associated to the world’s most popular beverage. These thirsty folks probably prefer a tall icy glass of Southern-style sweet tea unless your barbecue barn also offers the blood of Obama liberals, in which case they’ll have a large, no ice. You get the feeling immediately upon visiting this site that these are not patient folk.

“When Barack Obama won the presidency, we knew things were going to get worse for America,” writes chairman Howard Kaloogian. “We just didn’t know how bad it would be.”

Kaloogian, who signs off the opening letter with “conservatively yours,” goes on to detail some of the horrors our nation faces in the coming months. Not the least of these is a Teaparty Express bus full of fat, angry white guys who just spent the previous eight hours on the ride from Moline to Akron and are now ready to stretch their legs, and those of anybody who opposes their right-wing worldview. If that’s not bad enough, “entertainers” such as Marine Mom Deborah Jones, YouTube Sensation Rivoli Review and the always-hilarious National Tax Limitation Committee Chairman Lew Uhler will also be featured.

The site is full of dreadfully written and poorly fact-checked press releases. “The Tea Party rallies will play a major in helping Americans to take back their country,” notes one entry. They also oppose “the game of kissy-kissy Obama has played with the likes of Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that will soon weigh down Obama’s administration, just as it did with President Carter’s administration some 20 years ago.” I guess you could consider the late seventies to be “some 20 years ago,” but I still don’t think Obama can compete with the Saudi-smooching, Merkel-massaging George W. Bush in the game of kissy-kissy.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at a no-nonsense URL that gets right to the point with its name: Doody.com.

For better or worse, society has grown more comfortable in recent years with honest discussions of natural body functions. When I was a kid, every family had their own secret language for those necessary conversations between a parent and a young child that extended through the potty-training years and slightly beyond. In my house, it was always called “going too-too,” though we were also familiar with variations such as the neighbor kids’ “I have to make.” (To this day, I can’t use the term “mass production” without giggling.)

Now, there’s a societal consensus that the proper term for the function is “poop,” as set in stone by the best-selling children’s book “Everyone Poops.” So naturally I was intrigued when I encountered the webpage for Doody Enterprises, Inc.

It’s not at all what I thought it would be. Doody Enterprises, founded in 1993, “specializes in targeted information update services for busy healthcare professionals and medical librarians that combine literature update emails with content-rich web sites.” They offer professional reviews of medical literature, a respected endeavor totally undeserving of the snickers that references to “Doody’s Core Titles,” “Doody’s Reviewers Club” and “Doody’s Star Rating System” tend to provoke. There’s even a “Doody Database,” which is available only to members.

If you are interested in the essential collection development tool for medical libraries of all sizes, I can strongly recommend Doody.com. Just as strongly, and for a number of reasons, I recommend you stay away from ireallyreallyreallyreallyreallyhavetogo.com.

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2 Responses to “Website Reviews: 341.com”

  1. LaVonne Says:

    I think you crashed the Doody server, Davis! I keep getting error messages when I try to go to that website. I was wondering if Doody Enterprises, Inc. might be a foreign company since foreigners seem bent on taking our perfectly good potty mouth words and transforming them into legitimate commercial ventures. Now, what 13-year-old can say he likes “bimbos” and “tatas” without people thinking he enjoys mass-produced Mexican pastries and prefers small cars made in India? The way things are going, that might very well be exactly what he means!

    I have also noticed that “poop” has been replaced by “poo” in common parlance lately. I would love to know what linguists thing about that!

  2. planetross Says:

    I think there is still a “ballpark Frankian” society around somewhere.

    URLs don’t have spaces between words either! That confuses me too. I guess they aren’t really words anymore once you stick them in the URL box thingy up top.
    You never link to these sites you review: is there some reason for that? or no reason? … I think I covered all your possible response options.
    Have you reviewed Twitter yet? “shitmydadsays” is worth a peek.

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