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Alternatives for .COM ? (Part 1)

There are plenty of new domain names and if .COM never had any real identity or true meaning, it is quite possible that new gTLDs may bring new ideas to those who want to acquire a global identity without focusing on a country, a niche market, a specific industry, a community or just anything which does not cover “the world”. I made a list of these new domain names with potential to replace .COM and I believe that the alternatives might be in the list down below.

What does “.COM” mean anyway?
.COM domain names are the property of one Registry named Verisign; a registry like so many others to launch their new domain name extension. There are 271 million domain name registered globally and more than a 100 million of them are .COM. The first domain name—ever—that was registered was a .COM : symbolics.com was registered in… March 1985!

The fantastic thing about this is that .COM has never meant anything specific although you might think that “com” stands for “communication” or for “commercial”. Maybe it stood for “computer”. The Registry defines it as “The Global Online Standard” (source Verisign); interesting isn’t it?

.COM has now plenty of new competitors

How would you define the success of a domain name: “sales volume” or “how relevant”? As a user, I would be tempted to say that a domain name extension is supposed to categorize my website in the group it belongs to. But what happens if my activity needs an international business domain name, unavailable in the .COM category? What happens if my startup is to become a global brand? What happens if my company wants to innovate with a geographical descriptor that complements or replaces my .com and another regional domain name like .eu and .asia?

I went to both GoDaddy and the new gTLD current application status on the ICANN website to draw the list of potential competitors to the .COM and here is my first list:

1. New domain name extensions already available:
.COMPANY / .ENTERPRISES / .EXPERT / .INTERNATIONAL / .SOLUTIONS / .WORKS / .LIMITED / .INDUSTRIES / .SERVICES / .TRADE / .AGENCY / .BUSINESS / .NEW / .VENTURES / .SHOP / .SALE (which means “dirty” in French) / .SOY / .?? (.online) / .??? (.web) / .XYZ / .BEST / .VISION / .UNO / .SOCIAL / .LINK / .NETWORK / .SUPPORT

2. New domain name extensions still to come:

Some new domain name extensions are IDNs and I believe that I may have missed some of them. Do take into account that I can read French, English and Spanish only. I apologize for those strings I have certainly missed in other languages.

My choice?

I think I already made my choice but I also noticed, when checking these new domain name extensions, that some of them are business focussed and henceforth a new website, looking for a global presence, will not necessarily want, in all cases, to be related to business. It is difficult to be in the position of all those users who would be tempted to innovate registering, or would be tempted to switch to a new domain name: a foundation looking for a global presence will probably go for a .FOUNDATION and certainly not for a .BUSINESS. What about an organization wanting to acquire an international visibility: will it go for an IDN or will it try to address—in English—the rest of the world? That may be possible.

I thought there would be many options but having a look at the list given above, I believe that another list needs to be drawn; do need to keep that question in mind: which domain names are the most relevant in the message it sends on the web? It does not necessarily need to focus on business! Which one could do the .COM job better? Your suggestions are welcome but if you read between these lines, you have probably found the answer.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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Your reasoning boils down to saying: (1) Alex Tajirian  –  Jun 2, 2014 5:15 PM

Your reasoning boils down to saying: (1) Apple, Intel and Xerox should have chosen a name that is supposed to categorize them in the group that they belongs to; (2) Facebook, for example, should have chosen a name with the word “space” in it, as they had to compete with MySpace, the then dominant social media company; and (3) Before deciding on a brand name, companies may want to wait for the possible emergence of a .com competitor in the upcoming (TBD) second round of new gTLDs.

Nevertheless, I believe that the primary success factor is the gTLD registry’s competitive and marketing strategies, as I outlined previous post.

What does .com mean? Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jun 5, 2014 12:52 AM

RFC 1591: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1591

  COM - This domain is intended for commercial entities, that is
      companies.  This domain has grown very large and there is
      concern about the administrative load and system performance if
      the current growth pattern is continued.  Consideration is
      being taken to subdivide the COM domain and only allow future
      commercial registrations in the subdomains.

Where is Part 2? Jean Guillon  –  Jun 16, 2014 11:18 AM

I just published Part 2 of this article here.

As usual comments are welcome.

Jean - You are going about choosing Alex Tajirian  –  Jun 16, 2014 6:32 PM

Jean - You are going about choosing a “new gTLD star” the wrong way. The relevant game is that of a “beauty contest,” a John Maynard Keynes metaphor; not the one you think is the “best.”

The one I think is always best :-) Jean Guillon  –  Jun 17, 2014 6:49 AM

The good think about new gTLDs is that users now have “the choice” and I agree with you on one thing: my choice is not theirs but if you take a look at the list of new gTLDs I extracted…I am confident .GLOBAL is the one for any company who wants to establish with a global presence and add innovation to its launching.

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