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How important is a .com vs. alternative top level domains these days?

I'm from the old school of pursuing a .com first and foremost for your company or product. But as we all know, alternative top level domains have exploded in recent times. I'm just engaging with a new client who has an excellent product but they're using a .me TLD. It's a SaaS offering with broad appeal. I don't know the background yet but my immediate reaction was...we gotta get a .com!

Am I behind the times or should I try and change it?

28 Replies

Rodrigo Vaca
5
0
Rodrigo Vaca Entrepreneur • Advisor
Product & Marketing
Chris -

I think for consumer-facing businesses, .com remains a must.

For businesses that primarily cater to developers, IT, or technologically-sophisticated people, I think any domain will do. For example, .io, .org, other country TLD domains that spell a cutesy name, etc.

Not sure who your client caters to. If it a SaaS product focused on SMB - then I'd go with the consumer rule. If it is a SaaS product that provides some of technology (analytics, storage, etc), then I'd go with the any domain works. "Broad appeal" sounds to me like "consumer".

Best of luck!

Rodrigo





Gopi Mattel
1
0
Gopi Mattel Advisor
Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute
I still advise our startups to get the .COM address. There is a certain amount of credibility that still accrues to it. Plus many systems make allowances for .com as a default.
But since most discovery is now through search it does not really matter what the extension or even the name is anymore.
Jake Carlson
1
0
Jake Carlson Entrepreneur • Advisor
Software Development Manager at Oracle
Need a .com but it can redirect to the other TLD if the other TLD is part of the brand.
Chris Kitze
2
0
Chris Kitze Entrepreneur
CEO at Safe Cash Payment Technologies, Inc.
It depends on the business entirely. If things spread by word of mouth, you'll want a .com and a normal spelling. Good luck there, the dictionary is out of .com words at this point. If the business is generated exclusively online and people can find your service embedded on web pages, it probably doesn't matter what the domain is. We're using safe.cash and having a lot fewer issues with people finding the site than when we had xoom.com In fact, we got sued for trademark infringement (and won) against zoom.com. You can have a lot of other problems besides people not finding your site.
Richard Harris
1
0
Richard Harris Entrepreneur • Advisor
Top 25 Inside Sales Leader, Public Speaker, 40 Most Inspiring Leader, Sales Trainer, Start-Up Advisor, SalesHacker
Who is their target market GenX or Millenials.

If millenials it's .io is always a good option and frankly they don't care. I work with them day in and day out and they are more concerned about functionality.

If GenX then yeah perhaps a .com is good but again if the name before it solid and memorable even then it won't matter.

If the product/service is good people will remember it or bookmark it, etc. If they get it wrong, they will remember the second time.

Finally the amount of time and energy that can go into something like this at such an early stage of a company has tremendous opportunity costs. That time is better used building something that works well and solves a do-ers pain.

You can rebrand later


John Philpin
1
0
John Philpin Entrepreneur
People | Passion | Platforms
who types in http://www.foobar.com any more ?

you either type the name into duck duck go / google / bing / yahoo .... and click on what comes up

OR

follow a link

which of course means that SEO is important AND

what someone up ^ there ^ said .. make it 'person friendly' - someone I know set up an URL that sounded like 'Red Ocean Strategy' (name modified to protect the innocent) I spent 10 minutes with different versions of endings and still couldn't get there - WITH the URL ... I was told 'type it as it sounds' ...

turns out redoceanstrategy wasn't available ... so it was ACTUALLY spelt 'redceanstrategy' ... GAAH!
John Ellis
1
0
John Ellis Entrepreneur
Digital Media Executive, Entrepreneur and Board Member
For consumer-facing businesses, it should be an app; the domain is less important. If it's just a corporate site with info (non-transactional), it also probably doesn't matter as long as the name can be easily spelled. For a SaaS offering, get a .com if you can but you probably need to weigh the trade-off between a crazy name with a .com vs. a good name with an alternative domain. Focus more on phonetics and making sure you've properly set up SEO so you're easily found in Google. This is far more important than your domain extension.
Ogden Rattliff, MBA
2
0
Ogden Rattliff, MBA Entrepreneur
I help you keep your network connected | Big Picture Thinker | Over 2,000 connections
If you do decide to get a .com, use domainnamesoup.com to find an available domain name. It has a full domain thesaurus. Sent from my iPhone
Neal Tricarico
1
0
Neal Tricarico Advisor
Leader in transforming how sales works in creating meaningful impact and results
Chris, Thank you for starting this discussion. I too, am very curious about this. I have a client company who wants to use .sales and it's available with their name. While it looks awesome, I have no stats on adoption. I do see .io popping up quite a bit in Silicon Valley. Interested to hear feedback from folks! Much appreciation, Neal
Steven Mason
1
0
Steven Mason Entrepreneur
Brand Strategist & Ideator; Patent Strategist; Patent Broker; Negotiation Expert
Chris, the first question is whether the brand name itself is any good. If it isn't, none of the rest matters. But let's assume the name's really good -- and that it doesn't have any trademark conflicts (more common than one would expect).

The next question is whether the TLD is actually part of a phrase or word -- i.e., is.gd or a networking business with .io. So if the TLD completes the phrase, it can be brilliant. And in that case, I don't think you need a .com.

But if the name's a genuinely good brand name and the TLD doesn't make any sense added to it -- and/or it's a phonological nightmare, then, yes, you need a .com. Although you'd survive with a .net. I'd rather have a brilliant name with a .net than an unpronounceable assemblage of phonemes or nature's lexical emetic SaaSBestQuality!

Imagine that when salesforce.com started, there'd been a .force. Now how cool would sales.force have been? But .sales is very limiting and it's probably off brand, unless your client's sole purpose is to enhance their own clients' sales. And if there were a .food (maybe there is), how great would cat.food be? So never say never. But you can't just stick .sales at the end of a name if it doesn't sound right or if it doesn't actually communicate what the company does -- or worse, if it communicates something irrelevant or orthogonal to the product/service. That's just plain confusing.

Put all that together and you should have your answer. Good luck.

Steven
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