At Appellita, we’ve made a conscious decision to focus exclusively on .com domains. The reason for this is simple. Since 1985, .com domains have been the most trustworthy generic top-level domains (gTLDs) available to businesses. However, as many are quick to note, there has been a huge explosion in the number of other gTLDs made available to businesses recently. For example, gTLDs like .biz, .net, .info and country code top-level domains (like co.uk, .ca and .us) have become increasingly popular. There are even more gTLDs than those, though. As a matter of fact, there are actually 440 gTLDs in existence as of January 2015, of which 250 are open for registration.
With so many other gTLD options other than .com, you may be asking yourself why we choose to limit ourselves (and encourage you to, as well). To be sure, exploring these other gTLDs may be particularly appealing to certain businesses. However, there are many things a business should think about before choosing to make one of these other gTLDs their main domain.
The Potential Issues of Making a Non-.COM gTLD Your Main Domain
While there are plenty of great reasons for adding some of these new gTLDs to your overall web portfolio, there are numerous issues you’ll need to consider if you choose to make one of them your primary domain. We thought it would be worthwhile to explore three of the most important things to think about:
Because many of these new gTLDs have yet to be populated, there are many high-quality domain names that are still readily available. However, these domain names are not as plug-and-play as you might think. Generally speaking, you’ll have to check any non-.com gTLD domain that you might pick against the available .com domain names. If you find yourself stepping on a .com domain’s toes, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit or a cease-and-desist order.
Let’s face it, everyone and their mother knows what you’re talking about when you say “.com”. But, this same level of familiarity does not extend to non-.com domains. If you elect to choose one of these domains as your primary company domain, then you run the risk of alienating a certain segment of your potential customer base that has only a cursory familiarity with the Internet. To overcome this, you’ll have to waste valuable time (that you likely don’t have) explaining your unique gTLD to consumers. This is not a good thing. Even worse, confusion surrounding your unique gTLD could ultimately drive consumers toward your competitors who may be registered with a .com domain that’s similar to your non-.com one.
Higher Brand Protection Costs
Simply, you need to ask yourself if you can guard your chosen gTLD by registering on all other gTLDs. For small businesses and most especially startups, this is not financially feasible. For example, if you were to register bracelet.shop, would you also be willing to buy bracelet.club, bracelet.store, bracelet.jewelry and other domains to secure your space? With the market still deciding which of these gTLDs is the most desirable, it will be necessary to protect (or hedge) your investment by doing this. What’s more is that these gTLDs are not immune to cybersquatting (names like burberry.clothing and aeropostale.clothing are registered, for example), which means that if you make the risky move of not protecting yourself now, you could end up costing yourself a great deal later.
The message is clear. As your business expands, new gTLDs can be great for tailored and unique user-engagement purposes, such as targeted campaigns and promotions. However, as a domain upon which to hang your business’ Internet hat, they leave a lot to be desired.
Why You Should Stick With a .COM Domain Name
Choosing to settle on a .com domain name as your business’ anchor is always a good decision. These domains have an established reputation in consumers’ minds, one that automatically confers a certain level of trust that you won’t get from a lesser-established gTLD. For this reason, .com domains are perfect for businesses that:
Plan to receive payments from customers
Intend to reach mass markets
Have customers who are mainly non-technical
Wish to have a brandable domain name
Do most of their business in the United States
Desire to go global in the long term
While you may think that the .com gTLD is oversaturated, it’s truly anything but. There are, in fact, many brandable domain names that are ready for the taking. While there are currently less than one million 4-letter .com domains yet to be registered, when you expand your domain name to 5 letters and beyond, the options multiply to tens of millions. Once you get to 6- and 7-letter domain names, there are billions of options, and there are trillions more when you get to 8- and 9-letter .com domains.
Of course, you may have your heart set on a particular brand name to begin with. If this is the case, it’s worth keeping in mind what many large companies have done. In certain cases, they’ve used their desired brand name prefixed with words like “get” and “the”. For example, Dropbox.com used to be known as GetDropbox.com, and Facebook.com used to be known as TheFacebook.com. Like those businesses, it’s always possible to buy your simpler, desired .com domain at a later date as your revenue grows.
Use Appellita’s Name Generator to Get the Right .COM for Your Business
When you consider the tremendous number of .com domain names that have yet to be registered, the economical utility of Appellita’s powerful name generator makes a great deal of sense. This highly intelligent name generation tool gains an understanding of your brand, and presents a variety of memorable and effective .com domain names that are not only open for registration, but are also open on ever-important social media platforms. So, before you risk your brand identity on a non-.com domain name, give Appellita’s name generator a try. It’s here to help you uncover the hidden .com gems that can secure your Internet presence and drive your business's success into the future.