Ideas and Validation June 7, 2020

Importance of top-level domain

Simon Wikstrand @Kansuler

I have an idea that targets a massive market, the brand needs to be short and recognizable. Sadly, the majority of good .com names in are taken by domain resellers which is frustrating.

Now I'm considering to avoid .com in favor of obtaining a stronger brand.

Do anyone have knowledge about branding and how important .com really is?

  1. 2

    Treat the domain like an MVP and if it becomes profitable than go for the .com

  2. 2

    Good .com are certainly getting harder to find by the day. But at the same time, people seem to be growing more accepting on non-.com domains (e.g. https://notion.so)

  3. 2

    I believe at one point, this definitely seemed to matter to the google algorithm, where it preferred .com, .net, .org, and .io extensions. However, I think this matters less now, especially given how Google are now owners of several extensions (.app and .page among others).

    Even if still used, I think it's a negligible part of the search/authority algorithm now. I think of more importance are other factors (page speed, content relevance, backlinks, https, etc...), and users comfort with the extension (i.e. .io, .app, .co), particularly the segment they are in (tech users are more comfortable with alternate extensions).

    Finally, I always recommend doing a trademark search. With other domain extensions, it's easier to find single word domain names, but also easy to potentially fall on trademark issues if you providing same/similar service to an existing organization.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the advice, it's good that Google have adjusted it's algorithm to favor relevance and content.

  4. 1

    "The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness."
    Paul Graham has written a good essay on this topic.
    http://www.paulgraham.com/name.html

  5. 1

    Square runs on squareup (com)

    • [brand][word].com
    • [word][brand].com
    • [brand].io
    • [brand].[any]

    Importance of com depends on audience - e.g. if 'everyone' or 'corporate' then com more important, if niche / young / savvy then less so. As we know 'io' can be seen as positive for a tech audience.

  6. 1

    Several years ago people were talking about the "not com" era.

    As I said that was a good handle of years ago. In my opinion these days it really doesn't matter one bit.

    get a .io or .xyz. I'm quite partial to a .rocks myself.

  7. 1

    I have bad experience in the past with .info, don't know why...
    Try services that show free short (5-6 characters) domains in .com, to start.
    Maybe you will choose something interesting. I got "jvinx" in this way, I like...

    1. 1

      When I was younger I used to exclusively purchase .info domains. Why? Because you could get them for like $1-$2. I think the low price entry contributed to them generally being of lower quality.

  8. 1

    " good .com names in are taken" bs. Work hard on it and you'll find one.

    1. 1

      I can't disagree with this more. The best .com names were taken a long time ago. Now you need to dilute it by throwing verbs or "my" in front of the domain name

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        No. And take it as good advice:
        If one assumes that "hosting.com" or "website.com" are great domains then they are domain resellers.

        If you want good domain you have to find it. Not just pop in first one you think of and then say "All good domains are taken"

        If you don't believe this i'll ask you question:
        For how much was "WhatsApp.com" bought?

        1. 1

          Whatsapp.com is an awful domain though. Imagine being at a speaker event telling people to check out your website "whatsapp.com".

          "No it's not whatapp, it's not whatsup. No there's no apostrophe. It's like a pun on what'sup but instead of saying up we're saying app because it's an app. I know whatsup only has one p, but we're an app so it's two ps"

          It's not immediately clear how to spell it when said verbally. That makes it a bad domain name. You know what would be clear? Messenger.com.

          Whatsapp.com is valuable because of the ton of work and effort and manoeuvring that the owners put in. The name itself? Cute pun as a brand name, but inherently confusing as an URL.

  9. 1

    The .com is the gold standard and you should definitely try to get something decent in your niche in that extension if possible. Beyond .com I would make sure the extension makes sense with the product or service. I had to spend a decent amount to secure a premium domain for one of my projects but sometimes it can be a smart investment. It will definitely elevate your brand but by no means make or break your success. For me .com is king for anything and the rest is ok. Do like .io, .app and .dev for tech apps or .ai for ai businesses.

    1. 2

      Thanks, I'm probably going to find a .io where the .com is available at a domain reseller, and then invest in the .com domain once the idea is validated.

      1. 1

        This is a very common approach I've taken. Start with an off-brand domain extension and once the idea gets traction, I either purchase the .com, or rebrand with a .com. I've done this a few times. It's a bit painful, but not as painful as spending money for an expensive .com when I haven't proven the idea out yet.