Follow-Up on HP’s ‘License Plate Domain’ URLs

Yesterday, after linking to “”, I asked what the deal was with that crazy server name. A DF reader who works at HP emailed:

Internally it’s called something stupid, like a “license plate name” or somesuch. HP IT does that so they can physically locate a server when it goes down.

Externally, you’re seeing how one department’s braindead internal policy designed for their convenience reduces the convenience of the entire rest of the company (and our customers). I’d blame Randy Mott (of WalMart pedigree) who has proven to be quite a Napoleon (or perhaps Brutus is a better example?) when it comes to turf battles, but I think that policy pre-dated him.

Many folks internally in HP hate those license plate external URLs but there’s nothing we can do about it. The policy has been set from on-high.

So because of a dictum from the IT department, HP — one of the biggest, proudest, and most successful companies in the history of the computer business — has URLs that are cryptic, long, and ugly. Whereas anyone with, say, a Tumblr account, can get far nicer URLs for free.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010