If you are looking for a domain name for a website, or if you want to invest in domain names, it can be difficult to figure out what to register. There are so many domain name extensions. What is a domain name extension? A domain extension, or tld (top level domain), is the final part of a domain name, the part that comes after the dot on the right. Examples of common domain name extensions are .com, .net, .org, .info, and .biz. These are also called gtlds (generic top level domains). So, for example, with the domain name somename.com, somename is the name and .com is the domain extension (tld).
There are also country code top level domain extensions (cctlds). Some examples of these are .us (USA), .cn (China), .in (India), .de (Germany), and .co.uk (UK). .TV (Tuvala) is also a country code extension but it is often sold as a general tld.
The most common and well known tld is .com.
.Com was the first extension to be used extensively by businesses online. It is considered by many to be the king of all tlds because of how recognizable it is, the clout it's use offers and because it is the extension most likely to be typed-in (people will actually type the .com domain name in their browsers to go directly to the site even if they are not familiar with an actual site that may be there - this is free traffic in a sense). This can occur because people may assume all sites end in .com or that .com somehow is part of any name or it can occur due to "bleed" from other tlds - people see a name with some extension and when they go to look for it or type it in, they put .com instead. For many, .com truly is the internet.
has generally seen less use than .com, but many still consider it to be the second most valuable extension. Many isps do use it. .Org
is used by many non profits, various organizations and government related sites. Considered by some to be the second or third most valuable tld, in terms of recognition and resale price level. .Com, .net and .org are the original general use internet tlds. They are sometimes collectively referred to as CNO. They have been with us since the mid/late 80's.
New tlds were released starting in late 2001 with .info
was created with the goal of having an extension explicitly for business. It has the restriction that it only be used for bona fide business purposes. Some people are less enthusiastic about .biz, feeling it is slangy, while others feel it will do well in time because of its specific desigation as the business tld. It is seeing growing use and even some good resales.
were recently made available at the second level with three major countries - the USA, China and India (.us, .cn and .in). These were all previously heavily restricted or only available at the third level. Of these, .US does require us citizenship or a presence in the us for registrants. Many feel these extensions will do very well in time because of their indentification with the country they represent. One cctld, .de, has been extremely successful, with registrations rivaling .com and seeing some very high priced resales. Some feel these other cctlds could also do well in time.
Which domain extension should you choose and register? Most would recommend .com, and if it is avaliable in the name you want, .com should be the tld you get. If the name that you want is not available in .com, then you may want to consider the other extensions such as .info, .biz or one of the cctlds. Some feel that other extensions in time will develop .com-like recognition and be typed-in and be well known as they are advertised by businesses that start to use them. Others feel that this is unlikely to happen to any great extent due to the strength of the .com brand. In any event, it is a good idea to register the .com (if available) even if you want the new tld name (and it is available) because some people may make a mistake and go to the .com (as previously discussed). If you register the .com, you prevent someone from registering it and profiting from this traffic.
As far as the actual name goes, it may be good idea to get a name that describes your business in the shortest way. It ideally should contain a keyword related to your business. This way it may be easier for people to remember your site.
In addition to registering new domain names, you can also register expired domains using a domain drop catching service or you may be able to buy a domain name from a registrant through a domain name broker service, if not directly.