How to Choose a Business Name, Part 1: TLD

How to choose a business name and right TLD

.com, .net. .org, .info, .us, .me, .tv… There are so many options for choosing a business name TLD (Top Level Domains) that trying to explain the intended purpose of each would take up this entire post.  But if you are starting a new business or building a new product and you want to reach the global Internet audience, there is only one that matters.  “.com” is the first thing that comes to mind when anyone says the word “website.”

No matter what your company name is, someone will hear it and immediately think to type in YourName.com.  You can’t afford to miss a single one of these “type-in” visitors that may not take the time to search for you if they don’t immediately land on your website.  If you do end up with a .net or a .info, chances are that you will have to insert the full website URL into your marketing message and say the name over the phone so often that your business name and your domain name become one and the same — possibly not what you intended when you first envisioned your brand.  And think about this: nowadays, more and more companies are dropping the “http://” and “www” from their URLs in their advertising. And soon, “As society embraces the Internet,” says Martin Lindstrom, co-author of Brand Building on the Internet, that the “dot com will disappear too.”  Everyone will just assume that you have the .com!

There is also an implied status symbol in owning the .com  If you own the .com it means you were there first. When you have a .net or anything else, it conveys that you were late to the game. By owning the .com, you immediately establish yourself at a higher level.

Country-code specific TLDs (ccTLDs), such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .cn for China, and .de for Germany are becoming popular among residents of those countries that think first to look for a company that speaks their language and does business in their region.  If you do significant business in a particular country, we highly suggest purchasing the corresponding ccTLD; however if you have any plans for going global, and supporting multiple countries from one place on the Web, you should, rather you must own the .com.

Want more info on what to look for in a good name? Checkout our full series on how to choose a business name.