Product Development June 11, 2020

What domain extension do you use for your recent projects?

Csaba Kissi @ckissi

What domain extension do you use for your recent projects? com, io, co, or something else?

When I look for the new domain name it's almost unable to find the suitable domain with com extension.

According to SEO advises and domain authorities the co seems to be slightly better than io but the difference is minimal.

I had no problem with e.g. https://tablericons.com because the name is specific.

But for more generic words like "generator", I continuously end up with non-com domain.

  1. 4

    com , com , com , com , com
    I'll always prefer the com
    But all is about branding, not tld.

    If you service is 100% for tech people, you can go for .io.

    About SEO, there are so many variables that it's impossible to answer. Just don't use cheap tld (.site, .website, .xyz) because most of those tld are used for spam

    1. 1

      Yes, exactly, I'm avoiding these too.

  2. 4

    I always try and stick with .com when I can.

    If the .com is taken I normally look if there is a domain hack I can use. I found this site helpful for it - https://domainr.com/
    (this is how I found bidhe.ro)

    .io is well understood for tech companies so that would probably be my next choice after .com for tech related stuff.
    Interesting bit of trivia / risk on .io though (although I don't think it's a problem)
    https://salt.agency/blog/biot-chagos-islands-risk-to-io-cctld-domains/

    1. 1

      I'm also trying to do a domain hack unfortunately it's not always possible.

  3. 3

    At Flippa we have 1.5 million domains for sale, so I can share a few interesting insights.

    I've run a few numbers to better understand the correlations between different attributes & a domain's final sale price. And I've found some really interesting stuff.

    Age and character length are the most important attributes when it comes to domain. Old, short domains are gold.

    When it comes to TLDs...

    .com's are the most valuable TLD

    This is followed by .io's (This actually makes sense given the high income demographics of .io buyers & sellers).

    Somewhat unexpectedly, .orgs & .nets are 3rd and 4th, and come in about the same.

    .co's are in last place (I always dislked .co's personally...feels like a "I came in 2nd place" kind of TLD)

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback. I was looking into "net" as an alternative but most people associate it with something related to the network. I personally like co as a shorten alternative to co. But for data related SaaS apps I prefer io too.

      1. 1

        Honestly the one I am really, REALLY starting to like is .club

        It just works for so many things. Definitely worth considering.

        1. 1

          Didn't check how much that one costs yet.

          1. 1

            At Namecheap they are on sale at the moment. Under $2 per .club domain!

    2. 1

      Is there history of 'cool' and short domain names (.com) that achieved a high sale value and yet were relatively new?

      The only reason I have found it difficult to commit to using Flippa is the fact of considering current traffic to the domain.

  4. 3

    I'm currently a bit addicted to getting 'cool' domain names (well, what I think is cool anyway ;)
    In that sense any tld goes. Some of my latest acquisitions: trigge.rs, increment.al
    I'm also bullish on .dev for developer related products.

    .dev is kind of interesting in the sense that a lot of words are so-called 'premium' domain names. This means you actually pay more for a new registration (ie .com is always the same price, unless you buy from someone who already registered it).
    The downside is that it costs more, the upside is that your preferred domain name has a higher chance of being available because people won't be registering dictionary words left and right.

    For example, https://kickstart.dev (my current project) costs $100 per year. I'm still debating whether I should go for name.dev (~$800 per year)...

    1. 1

      Is the cost of the .dev higher because they are "real" shorter words?
      Because I have a 3 letters (with no meaning) .dev that costs 14€/year.

      1. 1

        Yes, it's about the actual word. My guess is that Google domains made a guess about how much people would likely pay for a domain name.
        That's why kickstart.dev is $100 and name.dev is $800 per year

    2. 1

      Very good points here about the .dev TLD! I also have a project Vina.Dev built on that TLD because devs are the main target audience.

      I'm a little concerned though because I've also seen mentions of Google potentially raising the prices of .dev & .app over time even when you own it, so I'm still waiting to see if they decide to increase prices for companies that drive the value of a .dev domain up with a successful product.

      1. 2

        Hmm, yea, didn't really think about that. So let's say my project becomes a success, and then they would suddenly start charging my $900 instead of $100 per year?
        That would just be bullying I think!
        I'll go check the terms and conditions right now..

        1. 1

          Yeah possibly, but that's entirely speculative on my part atm. I read comments randomly about the .app TLD thing somewhere but can't remember. Just concerning having that pricing scheme by Google, sure it stops more squatting possibly but also makes it confusing for those of us who want to build businesses on the TLDs that they operate.

          Would be interesting to read the T&C docs now that you say that.

    3. 1

      The dev is a very interesting option. I was using it for my local development until Google created a TLD from it. Anyway, rs and al are new for me.

  5. 3

    .app for my iOS app Packrat https://www.packrat.app

    1. 1

      absolutely makes sense for an iOS app.

  6. 3

    Currently, I generally default to the .app extension (most things I work on are app related > mobile and web).

    I used to do a lot of .io before .app came out.

    Once the project is successful, I'll consider buying an upgraded .com name, if available at a reasonable price from a reseller.

    1. 1

      Hmm, interesting strategy. Especially if you use it also for web apps. What kind of web app do you mean? Can you explain more, please?

      1. 1

        Good question. I think it's easier to mention the things I don't consider apps. That would be something like a blog, a content site (gizmodo, techcrunch etc...), portfolio, and ecommerce sites.

        This is purely my distinction, convention, and personal preference. Most SASS products IMO are apps (whether they are web, mobile or both).

        So I own about 20 domains at the moment, most of the app ideas I have for future work are either .io or .app domains (1 .dev domain). Most of the content domains I own are .com. For my personal blog, I'm not as concerned about domain, and only wanted something short and personal, so I chose johnny.am

        1. 1

          I'm really curious how the app extension compares to io or co in terms of credibility and SEO. Did you experience any noticeable difference?

          1. 3

            I don't have any reliable metrics or sources, but there are two reasons why I believe .app won't have issues.

            1. Google is the #1 source of traffic from search engines. They are also the owners of the .app domain extension. I can't imagine they would penalize their own extension. Also, the cost of .app extensions (and renewal) is generally higher, which I think helps prevent domain spam prevalent with cheaper $1.99 domain extensions.

            2. .App requires TLS. It won't work without it. This poses a tiny problem for developers trying to park, test and deploy their apps, but given that google's algorithm now takes TLS into account, and every .app website out there will be TLS, this is only going help the domain collectively IMO.

            1. 1

              That makes sense. I'll consider using the app extension for my upcoming electron projects.

          2. 2

            I don't think it greatly affects SEO. I have a web app https://www.Watermark.ink notice its .ink domain extension. It is popular and it comes in the top 5 in google search results. Even the number one player in this market is a .ws (watermark.ws) domain extension. The only reason I am going for .com domains is its easy to convey the name. I heard some not so popular non-.com domain names sometimes scare users. ex: .pw

            I just started my personal blogging on .io extension ideaman.io

  7. 2

    I refuse to use anything other than a .com. I know there are a lot of trends for other extensions, but if the .com isn't available, I'll think of a different name.

    1. 1

      Interesting approach.

  8. 2

    .com for our main website.

    We also got a .al domain that we use for our custom URL shortener (abys.al)

  9. 2

    With my habit of searching for nice brand names, I frequently come across nice .com domains and I always check its availability on social network sites.

    Just recently I came across nativesms.com and bought it. It's only after buying that I am wondering why it was available and trying to figure out the catch 😊.

    Personally, I think a good domain name - with the extension included, matter a lot. I would ignore SEO ratings, just to have a good brand name.

    I would be happier if my customers refer to me by my domain name and would never worry about those that don't know that my business exists. Building a product loved by loyal customers is to me, key, rather than trying to win stray customers who simply type certain words on the browser in the hope of discovering my business.

    A nice article I have come across - https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/brand-extensions-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

  10. 2

    Let me know when you are up n' running to feature it on https://www.colorsandfonts.com/resources-for-designers under the icons tab.
    Otherwise you can submit it too.

    1. 2

      And bookmarked your site 😄

    2. 2

      Hi Michael. Thanks. You can add it. It's up and working I'm just polishing it a bit. Primarily I've created it for my own needs because I needed the ability to customize icons and directly copy to clipboard when I use them with tailwindcss.

      1. 1

        Thanks man. Ok I will probably add it tonight. Can I link to it from the newsletter too?

        Oh, I know, is a pain isn't it? I could try tonight.
        Tailwind CSS.....
        I am actually planning to work with it within days...

        Thank you for bookmark it, if you want and need I made an extension that links to every tool on the site. I personally do not use it, but some users liked the idea...

        1. 1

          Sure, you can, I appreciate it, man! And sure, send the link over for the extension if possible.

            1. 1

              Thanks man!

    3. 2

      Woow, colorsandfonts.com looks awesome. Just checked it out and I love it!

      1. 1

        thanks, buddy!how kind !

  11. 2

    I like .io domains but in my opinion they are too expensive for my sideprojects, so I keep sticking to .com domains. How much are you usually willing to spend for a domain?

    1. 2

      for me, it depends on the projects. For free side projects, I would prefer to stay below $15 for a domain.

  12. 2

    remoteletter.com was available so grabbed immediately

    1. 1

      I'm surprised it was available.

      1. 2

        Me too. I was expecting .co or .io or even .net but when namecheap showed it as available, I didn't even think twice.

        1. 1

          One have to take action before it's too late.

  13. 1

    I like to use .xyz. Always affordable at around $1 at most registrars, plus I think it looks really cool as a branded URL.

    1. 1

      Yeah, it's cheap. A problem is a number of spammers who use it for their one-page sites.

  14. 1

    The right choice also depends of the product, for example if it is a product for tech people ".io" is a good choice. If it is an app, it is not so critical, because the people will discovery you in the app store.

    Finally, the ".com" is always the best choice, but finding one is more luck than anything else. If it is not free my strategy is to get an alternative if the ".com" is available for sell - so there is no brand competition between domains.

    1. 1

      Exactly!

  15. 1

    For the last three projects I used, .work, .guru, and .online 😎

    1. 2

      So interesting combination of domain extensions.

      1. 1

        I really like .work and .works. If you are into courses or ebooks you could get something like howreact.works.

  16. 1

    Where possible .com

    I really don't like .io, and .co is a huge red flag for me - it used to be used as a honeypot for people mistyling popular domains.

    Getting a decent .com these days is near impossible though, I got super lucky with my main sideproject, ServerAuth.com in that I'd picked it up for a completely different project a few years prior and kept it (I have a domain hoarding problem 😂).

    For another project I'm mulling over I couldn't get the .com but did get a really nice domain that incorporated the name (this obviously isn't it but for example 'roller.coaster').

    I think if you can't get the .com, the next choice would be something that makes sense to the brand. If you're making a web app my next choice would be .app as .io means nothing and makes no sense to the average user.

    If you are struggling with a name theres some really useful tools out there. Namestation is a good one, it has all sorts of filters and prefixes it can add, and they have paid contests so that others can help find a domain too. I've used it a few times now with relative success. You can do a fair bit on their free plan without having to pay.

  17. 1

    .ai was perfect for me

  18. 1

    Favorite is .io

    1. 1

      co and io for me

  19. 1

    I was using .io because there where some issues with my .com and facebook, there is a post on my profile if so interested.

    Recently the issue was resolved with fb, so I switched to the .com, and was hoping to see a shift from a high percent of Indian traffic to more north american, which I target. It hasn't made a difference after a week.

  20. 1

    I start with .com then .app then move to others if it makes sense. Otherwise I rework the name.

    1. 1

      logical approach.

  21. 1

    My personal website is in .dev. I think it's probably the best domain name ever btw:
    independence.dev

    independence day

    1. 1

      Haha, good!

  22. 1

    Personally I use a .me extension for SwipeBox.me

    I tried a bunch of other extensions like .com, .io, .co and pretty much all of them were taken or for sale for tens of thousands of dollars.

    However, I'd seen a fair few other startups use .me so it was the most logical conclusion :)

    1. 1

      Really logical decision in this case.

  23. 1

    The only thing to remember with domains like .app or .dev is that you must use SSL. But that's not really an issue nowadays. .com is still arguably the best one to get, but most of the domains I ever want are parked by someone else who never even built anything :(

  24. 1

    My latest project is https://share.link. I love this domain 😁.

  25. 1

    I find a lot of good domains on .to but Google still doesn't recognize it as an international TLD.

    1. 1

      Didn't use this extension yet.

  26. 1

    I'm trying to buy a .co right now.

    Technically I already bought it over few months back on Godaddy's auctions site, except it turned out the seller didn't own the domain (at least that's the excuse Godaddy gave me).

    So I had to make a wire transfer to Godaddy, paid fees, paid the EUR to USD conversion, then waited almost 2 months (and basically had to harass their poor support people who apparently didn't have much authority to do anything about the issue) for Godaddy's finance department to finally refund me.

    I also lost a bit over 200 euros just from the dollar value changing between when I sent the money and received it back. But Godaddy's initial reply was just "well, just buy another domain with that money, why would we refund you". Great company.

    Anyway I managed to contact the actual owner so we'll see how it goes.

    1. 2

      I use .co. sometimes too. The price is a bit higher but still affordable. I'm with Namecheap. Personally I hate Godaddy from the time when they blocked my DNS records because of a false abuse report.

      1. 2

        My domains are at Gandi, but as this domain was only available on Godaddy's auction site (for which I also had to pay a membership just to be able to place a bid too) there was not much choice.

        As for the .co cost itself, in this case the domain was sold for $12k so I suppose the $/year renewal cost would not make much difference.

        1. 1

          Uff $12k for a domain is a lot. It must be something valuable.

          1. 2

            It's a name (and a word I guess) that works in pretty much every language, only 5 letters. So prices go up fairly quickly.

            There is also a little hidden extra behind acquiring the domain: a previous owner had the matching Twitter account but no longer has access to it because it is bound to an email address on the domain. So I should be able to recover the Twitter account as well, with a catch-all email address.

            The .com is likely in the 6 figures (if not 7), and it's not even really used: right now it's a landing page that looks like it's from the late 90's, with a phone number and some local business information. I wouldn't be surprised if the domain alone represents 90% of that company's assets.

            Anyway it is certainly expensive, but in a way I see it more as an investment since it should not lose value and could always (worst case scenario) be sold.

            1. 1

              If the Twitter account had a lot of followers that's another value for you.

              1. 1

                It does not: ~100 followers. Then again that account has been dormant for 5 years.

                But hopefully I'd make that number grow :-).

                1. 2

                  I wish you the best with this!

  27. 1

    I like the .io. It sounds a bit "techy" and modern. That might just be my perception so.. I don't know how others feel?

    https://www.portfollow.io/

    1. 1

      I feel the same it's just a bit more expensive for free side projects.

  28. 1

    Hi Csaba! The .com TLD will always be king, mainly because of word of mouth sharing for whatever you build - if that's part of the marketing I'd try for simple words with .com. But I also own a lot of .me & .io domains - for those I stick with short one word domains, no combo ones for that. If you need a clever new .com domain I really love https://leandomainsearch.com/ to explore new 2-word brandable domain names.

    I don't think the TLD ending matters at all for SEO, to me it matters with word of mouth primarily. I used the .today TLD for a while on my main project & it was always confusing to tell people to go to the URL when sharing in person, I adjusted to a suitable .com now & I've since been linked in a few good articles without my doing (maybe a coincidence but the domain extension made it much clearer I believe for people to share).

    1. 2

      Rene, thanks for the tip.
      Agree, maybe in terms of SEO there is no such a big difference. But there are few extensions like XYZ which have a very small initial price and became extremely spammy over time.

      1. 1

        Yeah for sure on XYZ, I imagine some TLDs don't do well for email delivery for newsletters & such - maybe get flagged as spam more often. I've also seen people recommend just using subdomains for most projects off your main company domain especially if the project isn't a web app. Just a thought.

        1. 1

          Yes. This is a tactic I use on https://www.colorion.co

          1. 1

            Nice 👍

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      Sometimes the quicker solution. I even don't think too much if it's related to the side project.

      1. 1

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        1. 1

          What extension it was?

          1. 1

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            1. 1

              hmm, didn't know it's used for spam. Noticed xyz only

              1. 1

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