Registering Alternate Domain Extensions – A Good Move?

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

In the early days of the Web, businesses and individuals wishing to register a domain had three options: .com, .net, and .org. As the Internet has expanded, many new domain extensions have become available.

You’ve probably seen some of them – .tv, .info, .ws, and .biz are good examples. In addition to these extensions, dozens more have become available. And with the explosive growth of the domain name industry, many useful domains have been registered by resellers who will often demand an unreasonable price.

Domain names are important, especially for a small business trying to create an online identity. Let’s assume that a small business, Rare Antiques, finds that rareantiques.com has already been registered. The business owner has two options – find an alternative .com name such as rareantiquesstore.com, or register an alternate extension such as rareantiques.net, or rareantiques.ws.

The best option depends on your long term goal for the site. If you choose to register the same name in a less popular extension, there are some things you should consider:

  • Alternate extensions are not as popular with users. Most people will only remember the name of your domain, and not the extension. If you register rareantiques.net, many potential customers will mistakenly visit rareantiques.com out of habit.
  • Alternate extensions are not as credible. Many users loosely associate extensions such as .tv, .name, .info, etc. with low grade or spam sites. The assumption is that the “best” sites have the “best” or most common extension, .com.
  • Alternate extensions don’t always match. A flower shop with a .org domain name, or a retailer with a .info name seem out of place.

For these reasons, it is better in most cases for small businesses to get a .com extension in an alternate name. Some domain registrars even offer tools that suggest domain names if the one you want is taken.

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