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

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.

25 Replies

Marcus Matos
3
0
Marcus Matos Entrepreneur
Software Development & Information Technology Professional
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
2
0
John Sechrest Entrepreneur • Advisor
Mentor at Startup Mentor
You might consider the .co domain.
Bruce Leban
0
0
Bruce Leban Entrepreneur
Software developer, inventor, innovator
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.
Corey Blaser
2
0
Corey Blaser Entrepreneur
Founder at Origami
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
2
0
Dan Itsara Advisor
Co-Founder at Glazziq
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 Huffman IV
1
0
John Huffman IV Entrepreneur
Founder at Creators Capital
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.




Shobhit Verma
0
0
Shobhit Verma Entrepreneur • Advisor
building an adaptive recommendation engine
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
0
0
Steve Miller Advisor
Technology Consultant
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.

Manuj Aggarwal
0
0
Manuj Aggarwal Entrepreneur • Advisor
Technology Leader | Advisor | CTO (HIRING Mobile Engineers!!)
since it was recently purchased - the buyer of the new domain may have bought it to park it and may be willing to sell it to you at a premium (a few hundred dollars in many cases). You should put in a request into GoDaddy to mediate that transaction. It has worked for me in the past. Hope that helps
Ahmad Raza Khan
0
0
Ahmad Raza Khan Entrepreneur
Sr. Technical Account Manager at Amazon Web Services
I would definitely give .co a try. Also, check out domize.com - its great tool for brainstorming domain names. If you have a brand name in mind and can't find the exact domain, then I would also suggest that you consider suffixes to go with that. For example, http://www.speckproducts.com/. Hope this helps.
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