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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Slipknot? Not known at this e-mail address
Slipknot and a knitter
test hello test
Ryan Dilley
BBC News Online

How did US shock-rock band Slipknot get tangled up with the UK's Knitting and Crochet Guild? Thanks to the internet, of course.

That the 1,000-odd British members of the Knitting and Crochet Guild have been mistaken for the nine masked rockers of the US band Slipknot is one of those culture clashes the internet has a habit of causing.

Miss Marple knitting
"La-la-la...The whole world is my enemy... la-la-la"
The guild - which prints a quarterly magazine called Slipknot - has seen its website inundated by fans of the edgy nu-metal band.

"They seem to have stumbled on to us," chairman of the guild, Rita Taylor, told BBC News Online, "and some fans have been a bit upset that we're nothing to do with the band and have sent us unpleasant e-mails."

Mrs Taylor says she's more of an AC/DC fan herself, but is sure that some guild members quite like Slipknot the band.

"But it's quite sad when you open an e-mail from someone you think wants to learn to knit or crochet, only for it be some semi-literate, puerile rubbish."

Boy zone - but not for kids

It cuts both ways though. For instance, parents will be well aware that many of the URLs which you might expect to take you to the website of the cleancut Irish boyband Boyzone actually have little to do with wholesome pop.

Fortunately, few of us need fear being confused for a band like Slipknot - whose reputation has further been darkened by suggestions its songs encouraged the Erfurt gunman Robert Steinhauser.

A cat and a mouse
"Not another e-mail meant for Tabitha Cat!"
However, many people know the misery of constantly receiving e-mails intended for namesakes.

To make matters worse, John Smith in accounts and Sarah Brown in marketing invariably seem to have a dispiritingly full social life or far funnier friends.

The occasional errant e-mail is small beer compared with the flood of mistaken correspondence which found its way to Katie Jones's in-box in 2000.

The London-based internet entrepreneur found her personal homepage - - was receiving 100,000 hits per day following the publication of an autobiographical book by American Katie Tarbox about online paedophiles.

URL hell

"Strangers have e-mailed me with upsetting stories of their own experiences. Others have contacted me asking me to put dubious content on the site," Ms Jones says on her homepage - which is now totally dedicated to her fight with Penguin, the book's publisher.

She says friends and colleagues have even asked if she was in fact the victim of the sex attack described in the book.

Ms Jones also removed hot links to her business - an internet chat site - from, for fear it might become associated with the activities described by Ms Tarbox.

Balaclava wearer
Slipknot could learn knitting
More than two years on, Ms Jones says she can still only dream of having an "inbox free of distressing or abusive e-mail".

So is the Knitting and Crochet Guild contemplating cutting its losses and relinquishing the name Slipknot to the US band?

"We've used the name Slipknot since 1978. If there's a problem then the band can change its name," says Rita Taylor. "But if they want us to teach them how to knit themselves new masks, we'd be happy to help."

Some of your comments so far:

On his own website Tony Hawks (British comedian and author) has published some very funny replies he has sent to (also semi-literate) people who have assumed that he is Tony Hawk (cult American pro skateboarder).
Steve Johnson, UK

I run my girlfriend's make-up artist website registered in her name (Emma Watson). All was well until the release of the Harry Potter film starring the child actress of the same name. Since then we've been swamped with e-mails from children around the world asking us about the film. Slightly more disturbing are the several hundred from grown men trying to arrange a meeting with what they think is a fourteen-year-old girl. Creepy.
Steve Doherty, UK

We apologise for the actions of our fellow maggots (the loving term used to describe Slipknot fans). We think if they are moronic enough to send vulgar e-mails to you for bearing the same name of the band, then you should reply to them and be extremely polite, to make them feel like jerks. Bring up how drummer Joey Jordison sends his mother Mother's Day cards, and ask how he'd feel to hear them talking that way to someone's mother.
Cat and Donald Roberts, US

I saw an item on TV at the weekend, warning about young people stumbling across dodgy websites in the way you describe. One teenager complained that he found pornography when looking for his favourite Canadian band - Bare Naked Ladies. Was he really looking for a rock group? I think not!
Danvers Baillieu, UK

Most of these problems can be easily avoided if the people who send the mails actually bother to read a little bit about the site they are mailing. For instance, I'm the editor of website aimed at software architects and we still get people mailing us asking for advice of building matters.
Mark, England

I run a website about the defunct BSB satellite system. It gets hundreds of hits each week. I've checked the searches people are using and found that very few of them are for Back Street Boys, thankfully. The search engines are pretty good, so long as you make it clear what the content is. Never include something like "this page is not about...." because that will only serve to make things worse!
Colin McCormick, Plymouth, UK

I run the website for the Portishead Lifeboat Trust, and often get requests for information on the band of the same name. In return, they get information about the Lifeboat Trust - I hope some of them take time to read what they are being sent and learn about us!
Adam, UK

So, err... this isn't the website of Bromley Borough Council after all?
Malcolm Ray, UK

Are you dogged by e-mails intended for someone else? Has your domain name become a bit of a liability? Send us your comments using the form below.

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See also:

08 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Penguin picks the wrong domain name
12 Mar 01 | dot life
Your name on the net
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