One of my sources for electronic components is element 14 (au.element14.com). They changed their name from ‘Farnell‘ in 2010, but I have only just now realised it’s significance. It is named after silicon, the 14th element in the periodic table and the main ingredient of semiconductors (i.e. computer brains).
I tried to access their website just now by typing the URL element14.com.au but I reached a business site for Australian IT developers, who also make their living from silicon, but at a slightly higher level of abstraction. This made me wonder why ‘element’ and ’14’ should be such a popular combination.
If you compare the two URLs, you’ll see that the ‘Farnell’ element 14 uses ‘au’ as a subdomain of their main dot-com site, whereas the Aussie developers’ site lies within the ‘au’ top-level domain (TLD). A small rearrangement of letters leads to quite different results.