Earlier this month, the internet celebrated its 25th birthday. Just think of how much of our world this thing has changed in that quarter of a century!
Back at the outset, there were six domain names in existence. The first .com domain was registered in 1985.
Anyone could register a domain name for free. Those days are long gone, but in most cases you can still get a domain name for a relatively inexpensive price.
These days, there is an ever increasing number of top level domains (TLDs) available. A TLD is your .com, .org, .net – that sort of thing. It’s the last few letters after the last dot in the domain. You may have heard that big organizations with lots of money can now register their own TLDs: .amazon, .nyc, and so on. There’s even been a little bit of a dust-up over the new .sucks TLD – critics complain that brands will have to buy the .sucks domain for their brand to prevent hate sites from springing up! (amazon.sucks, google.sucks, etc)
Which brings us to our lesson for today: picking the right TLD for your organization. Here are some of the most common options, as well as the psychology that goes into them.
The oldest, most venerable and most widely used TLD. .com stands for commerce.
Close to .com, this TLD is picking up in popularity as the .com addresses get bought up.
Generally used by non-profit organizations.
Connotes a solid grasp of the internet. Your .net companies tend to be technology oriented.
This is a less popular choice than .com for businesses, but it’s gaining traction.
Generally this is used for sites that are specifically built for mobile. A few years back you would often see addresses like cnn.mobi, which were built to be viewed on things like Blackberries.
A .info is generally expected to mainly provide information (as opposed to e-commerce or any other advanced functionality).
This is for personal sites, hobby blogs, and so on.
There are also the .gov and .edu domains, which are not available to the general public. Only registered governmental agencies can have a .gov TLD, and only accredited educational institutions can have a .edu domain.
In combination with last week’s post, you should by now have a good sense of how to pick the right domain name for your company. Go forth and register!