.COM or Nothing
Many people believe that the .com domain is the only domain worth purchasing because that’s the one that most people assume when typing in domains. While it’s true that .com domains are very popular, there are lots of businesses which use other top-level domains without a problem.
What you have to think about is how your customers are going to access your site. If they are going to type in your company name into the URL bar and hit enter, then getting the .com domain is a must. But if you can brand your site with the .net or .us and get people used to using that, it won’t matter. Another solution is to use the TLD as part of your entire corporate name. The well-known social bookmarking site Delicious does this quite well with their domain: http://del.icio.us/.
.ORG and .NET Domains
After .com, the .net and .org TLDs are easily the most popular. There used to be a distinction that .org domains were for non-profits and .net domains were for Internet companies. But as there is no regulation, that quickly went out the window. And these days, anyone can get a .org or .net domain name.
If I can’t get my perfect domain name as .com but I could get it as .net or .org, I would probably buy one of those. The only real drawback to these TLDs is that some registrars charge extra for them.
The Perfect Domain Supercedes the TLD
This school of thought says that if you have the perfect domain name, one that is memorable, easy to spell, and catchy, it won’t matter what TLD it has. This is true if you have a company name that is already well established and you don’t want to change it to accomodate a website domain. Then, becoming “mycompanyname.biz” is preferable to some other domain name even though it’s on a less popular TLD.
Country Designation TLDs
Country designations are TLDs that are supposed to indicate products or services available in that country. These are TLDs like:
- .us – United States
- .co.uk – United Kingdom .com address
- .de – Germany
Some country domains can only be registered by businesses that operate in those countries, while others are available freely to anyone willing to pay the domain fee. For example .tv is actually a country TLD, but many television stations have bought domains using it.
Keep in mind that even if you can use a country TLD while not operating there, it might not be a good idea. Some people might get the idea that your business is only available there, when in fact it’s global.
The Strange TLDs – .Biz, .Info, Etc.
There have been lots of TLDs suggested and implemented for various reasons. The .biz domain is for businesses while .info should be to provide information about something. However, there is no regulation on how they are used. These domains can be very tempting as often they are available when the more popular .com, .net, or .org are already taken. But some people are nervous of these new domains. I’ve been told that “spammers lurk on .biz domains”.
I’m not saying that spammers really do use .biz domains, just that there is a general distrust of these domains. I wouldn’t rely on a domain name with a .biz TLD unless I had no other choice. But this attitude is slowly changing. In a few years, these domains may be perefectly reasonable.