May 21, 2019

Is ".com" still the best domain extension? I ran an experiment with 1,500 people to test the performance of different TLDs.

Kyle Byers @kyle_byers

I ran an experiment with 1,500 people to find out how they would react to eight popular domain extensions (top-level domains): .com, .org, .co, .net, .biz, .us, .blog, and .io.

Would there be large behavioral differences?

Do most people notice domain extensions at all?

Here are the highlights of what I found:

  • .com URLs are over 33% more memorable than URLs with other top-level domains.

  • .com is the #1 most trusted TLD, with .co in a close second.

  • When people misremember a URL, they’re 3.8 times more likely to assume it ends in .com than anything else.

In other words: yes, .com is still the best overall. But .co and .org come in quite close on some dimensions.

You can see all the results, including illustrated charts with the scores of all eight TLDs here - https://growthbadger.com/top-level-domains/

#fyi

  1. 3

    Hi Kyle,

    Nice analysis! I currently work at the TLD ".jobs", and a big part of our job is letting people outside of the tech world know that .jobs exists just like .com. There is a long conversation to be had about TLDs, and I'd gladly chat over the phone if you're interested. I know I'm diving into gTLDs and sTLDs now, but here are some observations you might find interesting:

    Google does seem to read your TLD as part of your URL. There is this great story about an entrepreneur who purchased the domain "home.loans" for $500k to rank for the term "home loans". https://domainnamewire.com/2018/01/23/entrepreneur-pays-500000-acquire-home-loans-domain-name/ The same was done with the domain "coffee.club" for $100k.

    Not all gTLDs are the same. Some domains set their price-point very cheap, and it attracts a lot of spammy content. For example, years ago, .info was very popular for scammers and it built a negative reputation. On the other hand, .edu, .museum, .bank, and .jobs function in a more restricted manner. As a result, these TLDs build trust and have a low chance of squatters and scammers.

    Simplicity plays a large role for domains as well. Using less saturated domain extensions allows you to get names you wouldn't be able to find in .com. People are more attracted to shorter domains as well. This is why companies like amazon use amazon.jobs for their career site. It looks better on printed materials, display advertisements, and things like that. We've noticed a lot of people using our TLD use it on billboards, backs of trucks, and pamphlets. It is important to note that these companies typically also own their .com domains, and they have decades of brand equity built up and their names are already super memorable.

    Anyways, paying a premium for your .com domain is always worth it if you're serious about your business. However, it can be wise to acquire other popular TLDs with your name and set up 301 redirects in order to be defensive and fight off future squatters.

  2. 1

    Great article. Yes, .COM always have value. I have a domain with 16 years old age and single word. Looking for reasonable offer.

    Zeelance.com