Back in 2014, a study found that there were certainly no four letter combinations left for the dot com domain name extension. Each one of the possible 456,976 unique blends of letters was already registered. Up until this point, four letter domain names were all the rage since they were simple to recall and fast to type.
Names like eBay, Etsy and Hulu were extremely popular for anybody looking to build a small business online. As we start the beginning of 2016, the available dot com domain names are still more limited, with just about any actual word and common combination of real words being not available.
So, what are your domain name options as a small business and how can you be sure your selection of domain name will align with future domain name progress?
The Domain Name: A 30-Second History
Long before the final four-letter combination was registered, startups started to face the difficulty of all the “great” names being taken. Even less popular generic top level domains (gTLDs) like dot-org and dot-info were beginning to run short on available names. So, many businesses went in another direction.
More, keyword-rich domain names became popular. For instance, a water filtering firm named WaterClean would possess the domain name WaterCleanwaterfilter.com. The idea was that by using certain key words in the domain name, search engine optimization efforts would be helped.
Comprehending the difficulty that it was difficult for companies to register a name in the more common gTLDs, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to release even more gTLD extensions focused on markets, like dot-autos, dot-lawyer or dot-restaurant. Others specify a region like dot- dot, berlin – wales or dot -nyc. Some even lend themselves to a certain occasion like dot-blackfriday, or a certain brand like dot-bmw, or even to a less serious strategy like dot-ninja.
Are they right for your business while these new gTLD extensions may be enjoyable?
Sticking with the Dotcom
For pros like Paul Graham, sticking with the tried and true dot-com is the strategy to go. In fact, he insists that in the event the dot com domain name is not available for a company name, a business should only change its name. He asserts that this extension is recognized by most folks as being the most professional. Customers know they can trust example.com over anything else simply because of the domain name extension. In some ways this is true, as individuals have come to relate dot-com with the Internet.
“As a tech startup, we can get away with lots of domain name shenanigans – .io, .ly, .co, .ai … but .com continues to be the top alternative (if you can get it) because it is the default in most people’s mind.”
Yet, being given to a dot com domain name can frequently result in an exorbitant price tag. The problem is that most startups don’t have the capital to spend on getting the dot-com domain. The great news is that there are viable alternative options growing in status regular.
Choosing an Alternate TLD
While it’s really no secret that dot com rules domain extensions, evidence shows that substitute gTLDs are beginning to gain some foothold with 12 percent of recent venture-funded startups picking an option domain name extension. The reason behind this is simple; the choices help newer businesses get their name out there. Additionally, as more alternate gTLDs come out, recognition among options rises, which makes it less important to possess the dot-com extension.
These newer domain name options could also help a new company get a much-needed SEO boost to assist them better compete with already established brands. Country extensions or industry associated extensions might have the ability to better position a business or product when compared to a dot com domain could.
New gTLDs also make it tougher for squatters coerce high transport costs for a startup to acquire a domain name from them and to take a domain over. If example.com is genuinely what a business wants for their internet presence, and they find it is chosen, they could choose for example.guru, example.io or any other extension that best fits their company. In case the dotcom is very important to them, they may use the access to others gTLDs as leverage in discussions too.
Registration of the new extensions is taking root while anticipated. Even Google is doing it, with Alphabet at abc.xyz.
Rather than going through the procedure of utilizing a dot com or other gTLDs to boost their brand, some businesses are currently opting to utilize a dot-brand strategy. By implementing through ICANN, business owners have the capability to create their own branded domain just like dot- dot, Marriott – dot and Barclays -Xerox. Not only does this strategy give a company immediate brand recognition, but it also includes additional advantages.
The dot-brand strategy can help businesses better create trust for their web site. Since just authorized account holders possess the ability to register domain names using a special expansion that is branded, it reduces brand mistreatment by scammers and phishers. This alone helps establish trust from your customer base. A dot-brand extension also counters the argument a good business needs to get a dot-com name. Since the use for a dot-brand extension is through and rigorous, it is the highest form of legitimacy that is internet.
The Case for Multiple Extensions
Many companies with an established internet presence are beginning to see the advantages of registering domains using the new extensions, as newer gTLDs grow in popularity. Before, companies would regularly file variations of their domain name along with other extensions like dot-org, dot-information, etc. All of these other domain names would then point to their primary site. This manner, could rescue any visitors who may have been lost because they mistyped the domain name in the address bar or used the incorrect extension and they had greater control over their brand.
Registering new gTLDs in the exact same vein will take this even farther, while also helping reinforce a company’s brand. A restaurant that has example.com would find gains from example.eatery as it can help distinguish them from any other company with the same, or similar, name.
Using a number of the more creative extensions may also help younger customers see a firm. Using dot-ninja or dot-guru as secondary domains plays right into a younger audience, an audience who’s much more accepting of domain names which are not dotcom as well.?
Research demonstrates that 78 percent of Internet users conduct product research online before they purchase. However, a business has to take its internet presence seriously and that begins with registering the right domain name. As most startups have seen, the choice of dot com names are running narrow and it only makes sense to research the alternatives out there.?
With a bug for entrepreneurship and a vision of the growing role of internet and technology in business, he set his sights on getting as close to the cutting edge of the future as possible. Ryan masterminds creative social strategies, search engine optimization, customer engagements and most importantly client retention to meet our clients’ global business objectives.