Domain names

What do you think of using non .com extensions for domain names?

Mike Lattier

September 14th, 2014

After spending countless hours trying to come up with a name for my start-up that was catchy, only to find them taken already, I finally came up with one that was unique, catchy and available.  I spent a few days running it by friends and family.  Everyone agree it was great.  When i went back, coincidentally it had been purchased just a few days prior.  Given the spelling, I found that very strange.  At any rate, it was gone.

Now the dilemma.  The .com of the name is unavailable, so I purchased it as a .org.  It's a social network type company.  I'm not real thrilled with the .org so I am considering some of the newer extensions, such as .co, .io, etc.  What is your opinion about utilizing one of the newer extensions, utilizing the .org for a company that is for profit, or staying with .com and finding another name.  I really do not want to give up the basic name.  Thanks.

Marcus Matos Software Development & Information Technology Professional

September 14th, 2014

A bit of advice for anyone looking at domain names: be sure you are using a reputable, well known registrar during your search. Unfortunately there are some out there that do exactly what Michael has described: they capture the domains you are searching then buy them up and offer them for sale at a much higher price.

John Sechrest

September 14th, 2014

You might consider the .co domain.

Corey Blaser Sailor. Mormon. Entrepreneur.

September 14th, 2014

It depends on your brand positioning strategy. Your name should explain what your company does or is unique enough to make you stand out. But you are right, the extension says a lot about your company.

I would shy away from the .org, it generally connotes 'non-profit' to your potential customers. While .com is seen as a more legitimate to business extension, .net occasionally works. .co and the likes are new players and need time and bigger players adopting them to figure out where they stand in the internet ecosystem. There is nothing wrong with them and you might be one of those that can make it work (like o.co). But you are taking a gamble.

If you are looking to grow to a point where you can purchase the straight .com down the line, then go for it. We did that with a domain owned by Vivendi during one of my former startups. Just budget in the high price as a 'down the road' cost (You'll have to accept that you'll pay through the nose though.)

Dan Itsara Co-Founder at Glazziq

September 14th, 2014

My rationale when I was dealing with this problem was that if whatever I was doing became successful, I'd be able to get for the domain name from the squatter. In the meantime, your options are:

1. Register a non-.com domain such as .co, .io, etc. I would avoid .org, because that I think that was originally created for non-profits.

2. Use a variation on your intended domain name like "hq", "my", etc. Dropbox started with getdropbox.com, and Square originally used Squareup.com.

3. Use a domain hack like "bit.ly", "del.icio.us", etc. I'd personally would rather not try to artificially cram my company name into a domain hack, but if it fits then go for it.

John IV Founder at Creators Capital

September 14th, 2014

I would purchase the name from the squatter (if that's what they are) or come up with another name that works. You need to own all important aspects of your brand.

All this said, it is really hard for is to give you sound advice without the details. 

You know, what's the name of the domain and for what kind of social networking business?

Regardless, naming is very important. Sounds like you understand that. I would recommend you push until you have a name that is available and that you own. 

Or hire an expert to help you. Check out the way the folks at www.flyingstartnaming.com think about naming.




Anonymous

September 19th, 2014

Do not confuse popular with reputable - GoDaddy is among the sleaziest of the DR's out there. 

If you find a domain on GoDaddy, you better buy it within the next 3 minutes or it will be available to you for $499 (or more) after that. If you have a website with GoDaddy, prepare to pay a host of outrageous fees every time you want to do something with it. You think they can afford all those commercials by charging $1 for domain names? They nickle and dime you to DEATH once they have your account. Except those nickles are $75 each.

Try using a reputable company like 1&1 or InMotionHosting and save yourself a ton of headaches AND MONEY.

Sharon McCarthy Chief Marketing Officer

September 23rd, 2014

Having a .com matters. At least here in the US. It's all about brand perception. If you don't have the .com, you won't really be able to control your brand perception (the .com version of the brand will control it), users are less likely to remember your business (yes that funny extension is just one more thing for them to remember), less likely to land on your site, and you look less legitimate if your primary presence is online and you don't have the .com extension. The .org is confusing if you're not a not for profit...could even be a bit deceptive. I share your pain on naming. I just went through this process myself. But I would try to get the .com. 

Bruce Leban Software developer, inventor, innovator

September 14th, 2014

You've fallen victim to domain squatting, where unscrupulous domain registrars register names that their customers search for. If you find a name you like, invest the $10 to reserve it. Some companies claim they're doing this as a service for their customers and if that's the case with the registrar you searched with they might let you buy it. Other than that, I would never do business with that registrar again.

There's nothing wrong with extensions other than .com if they really make sense for your business. For example, I could imagine branding a social network-ish company as <something>.buzz or <something>.zone but probably <something>.services wouldn't get you anywhere and <something>.co is likely to confuse people. But neither of those may be compatible with the name you already came up with.

If you don't know if you can trust the registrar you're using, you can use bulk search and use synonyms. Say I'm thinking of 'basecamp' I would search for many combos of (synonyms of base) + (synonyms of camp). Those red herring searches would be prohibitively expensive for a squatter to register all of them.

Shobhit Verma

September 14th, 2014

Check if they listed it on sedo.com
Please let me know the name of the squatter. I will search a lot of names there that I don't intend to buy. Let's hope they buy them all.

My personal philosophy on domain extensions is to go with the .com extension only, unless I am a non profit.

There are many stories countering this argument. For example craigslist.org has always been an org (it is not a non profit). However I remember that in the early days craigslist.com was owned by someone else and they hosted a single page of sexually explicit content. I am sure craigslist had to buy the .com domain for a huge premium to preserve their dignity.

Steve Miller Technology Consultant

September 14th, 2014

I would not go with .org as the first impression someone will have is a non-proft.
Try the domain name extension .social or .me or think of a new name.