Fake links: popping the fictive bubble

When TV show writers want to use a phone number – but don’t want viewers actually CALLING that number – they use the exchange ‘555’ which the phone company has provided for that purpose.

For those in the know, it yanks us right out of the fictional world (because we KNOW it’s a fake phone number) – I bet actors hate them.

But for the general viewing population which hasn’t figured this out, it sounds like a real phone number.

What is the equivalent – or IS there even an equivalent yet – for listing a website or a blog?

One thing I could do is to buy up any domain I use in my novel, and then USE that link – should anyone think it’s real – to direct a user to the book or the author website – and provide some little extra. An ‘Easter egg,’ in techspeak.

Unfortunately, I have a LOT of fake links – purporting to be various publications that comment on the story in progress, and online critics and fan sites; it’s necessary for the way I’ve set up the story. It could get expensive – and most people wouldn’t go there, so it would also not have much of a return on investment.

Am I missing something obvious? Is the solution already out there?

The ideas I already have LOOK odd:

Three letter extensions: .ccc (as a fake) or .con (so it looks like a typo?) or .cvc (as if there were a new domain extension that people just didn’t know about). Two-letter extensions: .co or .cc or .cm?

I’m trying to come up with something that won’t ever get used for actual domains – but it isn’t something that will LOOK right, because readers are used to how domain links look.

Depending on the font: .cem, .con, .ccm, .ccn – similar to com.

The closest, visually, is .ccm. There has been some research on how the human brain processes information, that mixed up words can be perceived correctly by the reader if 1) the beginning and end are CORRECT, and 2) the letters within are either the correct ones, mixed up – or something very ‘close’ to that (I assume, not having done the research myself, that this means an extra letter or two, a missing letter or two, possibly a duplicated letter).

So, for a short ‘word’, .ccm is about the closest: the beginning and ending letter are correct, and I don’t see how adding a letter would work because we are all conditioned to see ‘.com.’ as a three-letter extension.

‘.cm’ and ‘.co’ are either already country codes, or could become country codes, and LOOK wrong to me. It shouldn’t look like a typo – typos distract the reader. They also miss the three-letter=correct test.

The remaining problem is that most readers MIGHT, after a few chapters starting with epigraphs with the same typographical error, notice this – and be pulled out of the story.

I’ve even thought of using ellipses: http://www.musicpetes.c… or even http://www.musicpetes.co… (which was recognized by Scrivener as a link! and marked as such).

A silly worry? Nope – keeping the fictive dream is going to be hard enough when I’m already rewriting a bit of recent history, which SOME readers WILL notice.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!

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