Which .com Alternatives Can Be Viable For Your Business?Posted: December 22, 2011 | |
We’ve given reasons in the past as to why you should still stick with .com for your business domain. While it IS important and still much more highly recommended than a non-.com, that’s not to say it’s impossible to succeed on another extension.
The truth is some other extensions can be viable for businesses. It’s important to understand that the domain should be far better quality than what you’d get in .com. Otherwise, you may as well get a .com and spare yourself from a lesser extension.
It’s also important to realize that not all extensions are viable. In fact, some extensions are nearly worthless no matter what name you get, such as obscure country-code extensions that are rarely used.
Which .com alternatives can be viable for your business?
This is a pretty obvious one – .net has been second-in-line since the beginning for online businesses. Certain industries even go with .net over .com in some circumstances. ISPs for examples often use .net.
Also note that .net has seen some prevalence in Asian countries. There are more popular sites in .net than in .org in those countries (while the reverse is true for the United States).
2. Popular country-code extensions when targeting those countries
Germany loves .de, the UK loves .co.uk, and Australia loves .com.au. Companies in those countries often develop on those extensions, especially if targeting only their own country. Google in turn often gives them a boost in search rankings in their respective countries.
Note that this is only for country-code extensions well-adopted in their respective country. Even some popular country codes aren’t the “default” in their country. .in has over a million registrations but many Indian companies still stick with .com even for local companies.
3. Higher quality domain hacks (can be any extension)
Domain hacks can pretty much be in any extension. Our own Doma.in is in the .in extension I just cautioned about, but is highly targeted for our industry and good enough quality to use. Once you get into lower-quality hacks however, they lose their luster for business use.
4. Cute short brands in .ly, .me, .io, etc. IF social-related
These kinds of domains haven’t really been proven outside of the social realm, but they’ve seen some success in social. Most of the time, they are used as hacks of a brandable made-up word, i.e. Bitly and Instagram. Even though some of these have had success, they’re still much riskier than simply going with a short brandable .com (which may cost more money to get).
5. .org in certain circumstances
.org is clearly the go-to extension for non-profits, but what about for-profit businesses? Only certain industries have made much use of them as primary brands (they are used often for SEO). Finance, education, health and politics are the industries that see the most use. A lot of non-profits in those industries use .org, which may be why some for-profits have adopted it for their brands.
…that’s it as far as I’m concerned. Yes, that list seems devoid of a certain recent extension that’s seem some success (.co), but it is unproven as a business extension. It’s major proponent, Overstock, recently went back to using Overstock.com vs. O.co because of loss of traffic to O.com (which is reserved/unowned).
Any other extensions/options are too great a risk to consider with very little reward potential. In general, the least risk is involved with sticking with .com and nearly all huge brands are on .com, which would indicate it to have the highest reward potential as well.