Which domain name should I register?

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.

..Net 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. This
was soon followed by .biz. .Info, like the previously discussed
tlds, is a general use tld that can be registered by anyone
without restrictions. It is considered by many to hold great
promise (in terms of it gaining recognition with internet
users), because of the concept that it represents, information,
which is a big part of the reason the internet exists, as a
medium to transmit and retrieve information. It has seen some
early success in terms of use and resales. A domain name resale
is a domain sale by a registrant usually for much more than the
registration fee.

..Biz 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.

CCTLDS 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.

Tom is a webmaster. Visit the expired domains
guide for more information about domains and expired domains.

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