Remember the heady dotcom days, when businesses were desperate to get a short, memorable, easily typed
.com domain? It quickly became difficult to get what you wanted—so much so that deep-pocketed companies paid exorbitant sums for just the right domain.
Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. Domain names are necessary because computers on the Internet are all identified by inscrutable numeric IP addresses. You can remember and type
220.127.116.11 not so much. Domain names have two or more parts: the top-level domain (read from the end, such as
com) and the second-level domain (like
apple), plus optional third-level domains (which could give you
Since the days of speculating in
.com domains, however, hundreds of additional top-level domains have been opened up, including domains from
.zone. There are now top-level domains for
.lawyer, and many more, including the general
.xyz. It might be tempting to switch from the awkward
dewey-cheatham-howe.com to the shorter and more memorable
dch.lawyer. And even if there isn’t a profession-specific top-level domain that works for you, you may think that if
abc.xyz is good enough for Google’s parent company Alphabet, surely it’s good enough for you.
Alas, much as we appreciate the creativity and flexibility offered by these alternative top-level domains, we’d like to dissuade you from using one, if possible. Problems include:
.combut might think
.oooseems sketchy. (We would.)
Obviously, it may not be possible to get the domain name you want in
.com. What to do? There are a few strategies:
.usis for the United States,
.cafor Canada, and
.aufor Australia. Every country has different rules for who can register them. For instance, it’s possible to get a domain ending in
.it(Italy) as long as you work through a registrar that acts as your representative there.
.io(British Indian Ocean Territory) and
.ai(Anguilla) are popular top-level domains among tech companies.
.orgare fine, and
.bizisn’t bad. But how to determine that? When you’re checking to see if a domain name is available, compare prices. For instance, at one domain name registrar,
iphonewhisperer.xyzcosts only $1 per year, whereas the
iphonewhisperer.bizversion is $4.98 per year,
iphonewhisperer.netis $9.18 per year, and
iphonewhisperer.studiois $11.98 per year. The more you pay, the less likely that domain has been abused by spammers and marked for filtering.
In the end, when it comes to domain names, it’s best to be conservative and stick with a top-level domain that won’t cause people or filters to think twice. That’s probably
.com, if you can make the rest of the name work for you.
(Featured image by iStock.com/BeeBright)
Social Media: Tempted to get a short, memorable domain name ending in .xyz or .shop? As we explain, that’s a bad idea if you care about user perception, email and text message deliverability, and not being blocked by social media and firewalls. Details at: