Marketing, Design, Writing & More

If You Don’t Own the .com, You Don’t Own Anything

Dotcom-02I have developed my own process of buying domains throughout the years. Part of it is searching for hours and brainstorm for days for the shortest URL I can possibly find that connects my project or a business to. Then, I build the entire scope of the website around the domain name. Some people do it in reverse, but the domain name is such an important part, if not everything when building a company these days.

It’s not like back in 2001 where many domains were just waiting for someone like me to come along and snatch them up. All the LLL domains are gone, the majority of LLLL domains are as well. Of course, all the “dictionary word” matched domains are a $10,000 premium domain from GoDaddy. If you are like me and stay up until 2am on a given day typing in combinations of what you want into the domain registry, then you know the frustration that sets in when you realize none of them are available.

I don’t want to contact the owner of a domain that I am interested in to see if they want to sell it to me. I don’t want to buy a second-class domain on the auctions either. Additionally, I don’t want to pay the domain registrar a premium fee for something that is available to buy. Sometimes I just wish that I could travel back to 2001, then buy all the domains I need today and move on to build amazing websites. Hindsight is always 20/20.

My rule of thumb has always been: If you don’t own the .com then you don’t own anything.

No one wants to be a .net or a .info, let alone a .me. The primary TLD has been established a long time ago when the .com came out. Many people try to go with another TLD when the .com was unavailable only to find that once they got to a decent size, they couldn’t overcome the .com version. It can be very frustrating and this is why I say that if you can’t buy the .com upfront that you should walk away. Try again until you have something that is brandable and meets your requirements. You will never out-brand the .com, and this goes for .org domains as well. Even if you don’t plan on using the .com, you should own it.

I have even stopped purchasing the other TLDs altogether, because it doesn’t matter if I own LLLLL.com as well as .net/.biz/.info…etc. It’s foolish for someone to buy a .net that I already own the .com for and build it up when all I have to do is maintain the .com and most of their traffic will stop by my site anyways. It’s also hard to burn a brand into someone’s memory, then additional brand the domain name, but branding a different TLD other than .com would be a nightmare. I can think of one brand who did brand their extension, and it was Yahoo {{{{.com}}}}. Yes they had the catchy tune in their ads that ensure your remembered it was the dot com. They didn’t need to since it was the dot com, but those were the early years when the web was just starting to grab hold.

Just think about the last time you have gone to a .net, .biz, .info, .us, or any other extension without the help of a search engine. I know there at least some out there, but very little that roll off the tongue. The reality is, .com and .org are the usual suspects and the .org should still own the .com. For traffic sake it would be smart to forward the .com to the .org since most people will default to typing that into the browser.

From a branding point it is very difficult to get someone to walk away from an ad placement and sink in that you are LLLLL.net. An even harder situation was a question that was on Quora asking if they should use the .us or .com since they were going to target the United States. Obviously, you already know what my answer was based on this posting, but it goes to show that some people are still buying these types of domains in 2015. It’s dangerous to say the least if you don’t have the experience and can’t find the information you need on the internet to prevent you from making those mistakes.

It’s important to remember that if you can’t lock down your desired .com domain, you should not buy any of the extensions. The other extensions are irrelevant as far as most internet users are concerned. I have had some people try to convince me that the .co domain was worth the time and while they might get some traffic by someone not typing in the “m” on .com. How valuable is that traffic? You don’t really hear about cybersquatting much either. The reality is that targeted traffic is highly sought after so variations of the .com really don’t bring a whole lot of goodness. I could see if you are an affiliate site and every click matters that you would be concerned.

I hope you don’t make the mistake of buying a .net because someone else already owned the .com. I also hope you save more money by not worrying about the other TLDs. If you become big enough you either will buy them up or register a trademark and scoop up other domains that try to profit from your success. No matter which way you go, I appreciate you having a read through!

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