Vanity domains are a standby in hax0r/script kiddy culture. To put it simply, they are abuse of the DNS system to spell out sentences or messages. Normal hostnames go like or . Vanity domains expand (so to speak) on this and use reverse DNS to create real, fully qualified domain names like . Generally, you see these being run by teenage hax0r d00dz who through some cosmic imbalance have obtained their own class C of IP addresses, and reverse control over them. Yes, these are always people who IRC as if it were a bodily function and would not be caught DEAD logging on from a host like . No, they must run their own Linux or FreeBSD boxen and use specially designed, DNS-abusive hostnames because "their cool!@*$%!"

Anyway, they set up the named with matching forward and reverse service so IRC servers, insanely enough, think these people are really connecting from hostnames like " "

I have to say, seeing as how I did run with a crowd like that at one point, I've seen a lot of these, and been on the "inside" of them at times. Some of them are really long and totally idiotic like...

All of those are in my old IRC logs, and at one point did exist. But that's another thing about vanity domains, they tend not to stick around too long, because the sysadmins of the boxen these kids are running these things from tend to find out about it and put a stop to it, but there are some people (I mean, 20-something males with nothing to do) who actually pay the money and run a half-assed web hosting project to support it find these things amusing and let kiddies have access to them. There are a few vanity domains that actually are short and somewhat clever, like or . On the whole, though, this a wanton waste of our (rapidly-diminishing, mind you) supply of IPv4 addresses.

I always did think it would be funny, though, if one of these vanity-meisters had to call Network Solutions to get some domain changed, and had to have the follow conversation with a the helpdesk rep:

NSI Rep: Hello, Network Solutions incorporated, how may I help you?
Hax0r: Uh...hi. I need to get my domain's nameserver changed...
NSI Rep: Ok sir, what's the domain name?
NSI Rep: Sir?
Hax0r (in a quiet, embarrassed voice):
vanilla = V = vannevar

vanity domain n.

[common; from `vanity plate' as in car license plate] An Internet domain, particularly in the .com or .org top-level domains, apparently created for no reason other than boosting the creator's ego.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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