What’s in a dot com name?
Selecting the right domain name (website address) for your new website or blog is one of many important decisions that you’ll need to make when launching a new site. In addition to the issues with an ever diminishing choice of domain names still available, does your choice incorporate your preferred name if it’s a business or exactly what keywords you’d like to be found for if it’s not. Throughout the 1990′s domain names were purchased in their thousands by speculators who hoped to be able to cash in on common nouns, phrases or titles followed by the inevitable dot com. Many are still sitting on tens of thousands of those domain names, renewing them year after year hoping to get a belated payday at some point. Some people profiteered quite nicely from this, many more didn’t.
Later on the advent of other domain options in two major phases allowed more flexibility for buyers of domains adding for example dot net or dot org as is typically used by nonprofits. A growth in national domain names add-ons saw a rush for British websites to register under dot co dot uk (.co.uk) and similar variations took root. Dot info and dot biz were expected to lessen the titanic struggle for domain names but even today dot com sites far outweigh the combined totals of all other websites by a large ratio.
So is acquiring the domain name you really need going to get any easier? Of course not if the dot com option is preferred, at present versus a global population of 7 billion only 30.2% are current internet users. Even in places where you’d assume everyone is online the market is still growing, 58% of Europeans are online, 78% of North Americans. The growth will be driven greatly from South America where only 36% are online and Asia where the total is 24%.
More users inevitably will lead to more websites and increased demand for domain names, to date English has become the de facto internet language but new reports show that is rapidly changing and the choice of far more domain name suffixes is also set to explode.
Approval for a the addition of a wider range of suffixes is anticipated late in 2012 and expectations are that location (nation), language and indutry options will all be on offer when choosing to name sites. The current number of choices (just 22) will be a thing of the past with perhaps as many as several hundred new variations to select from. Not only will it change how easy it is to acquire the domain you wish but will also change how google and other search engines need to operate. Amazon.com for example could well be competing with Amazon.books or Amazon.china in a few years if a rival wanted to secure that domain name. The old tactic of phishing by using a similar domain name and hoping to gain some of that audience will become even more pronounced and difficult to avoid.
At present in North America and most of Europe a ‘dot com’ address is always preferred with a dot net being a less suitable second option. Even with all of the changes expected next year I still think this is going to remain the case in those markets, try and secure a dot com address that makes sense. I also think too much emphasis is placed on the domain name itself, with a sensible keyword and SEO strategy including looking at trending, competition and using all organic tactics to gain ranking will ultimately bring you better traffic than a domain name. I’ve experienced it and nothing convinces me that it’s any less possible now than a few years ago. If you have any thoughts or questions please throw them in the comments.