The End Of .com Dominance?
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Ever since the dawn of the internet, a digital real estate game has been afoot. Domain names are the addresses of websites, and just like the real world, prime addresses come at hefty prices. In 2009, Insure.com sold for $16 million to QuinStreet – an incredible sum for nine letters and a dot. Of course, back when the internet was fresh and new there were many more domains to choose from, and many have accrued in value. Even now, the unfortunate practise of “domain squatting” – buying up loads of different domains and leasing/selling them to people if they wish to use it – is common enough to be frustrating. If your favourite .com isn’t available, it’s well worthwhile considering all your domain options.
Alternatives To .com
Depending on your business, there are a number of possible options.
.net – The second most popular domain suffix is very frequently used when the .com name is taken or too expensive to buy. It’s neat, professional, and suits the IT and web industries in particular. Using .net often opens up new branding opportunities.
Country Extensions – If your business is fairly localised, a country extension such as .co.nz or .com.au is an excellent alternative to .com. It will usually give you a much more diverse range of naming options, and it is trusted and understood by the markets in those countries to mean that it is a local business and not some faceless overseas corporation.
Alternative Extensions – For some businesses, using an alternative extension such as .ly, .nu, or .me will create the right image for the brand, such as Lookbook.nu. This domain works because the target audience is web savvy young people – for a more traditional business, the .com or .net may be a better investment.
Domain Hacks – This is becoming one of the most popular new domain name styles due to its sheer freedom and possibility. It tends to suit younger, more web-oriented businesses as the average user still finds it difficult to fathom domains outside the usual format, but it produces extremely creative results. Domain Hacking means using the domain, sub domain and extension to create a word – usually to do with the brand. The first commercially successful one was Del.icio.us, and a number have sprung up since then such as Web.stagram.com
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