Why .COM is the King of Domain Names
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The 'king of domain extensions' is .com for a reason. The TLD has dominated the industry since the inception of the Internet. In 1984, .com was among the first 6 domain extensions established by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
According to data from IANA, there are close to 1500 domain extensions. But despite the high number, .com has remained unmoved at the top spot. What makes this extension a darling for many website owners? What are the .com alternatives?
Keep reading to get the answers to all these questions.
What Is a TLD?
A top-level domain is the highest hierarchy of the domain name system (DNS) that appears after the last dot of a website URL. The most common TLD is .com. Other TLDs include .net, .co, .gov, and .info.
The function of TLDs is to categorize and identify the purpose of a website. For example, .com TLD shows that the website is commercial. Top-level domains help maintain the structure of the Internet by making it easier for users to navigate to the right site.
Now, let's explore why .com is called the king of TLDs.
7 Reasons .com Is the King of TLD
1. Historical Importance
One of the primary reasons .com is considered the king of domain extensions is its historical importance. First, its association with commerce meant that most businesses registered their websites with the TLD.
In the late 20th Century, many businesses moved to establish their online presence. Consequently, .com became the most common domain extension because of its association with businesses.
The first .com website was symbolic.com, a computer manufacturer. Giant companies like eBay, Amazon, and Google registered their sites under the TLD. This gave the extension a strong foundation in the online commerce and innovation industries.
The historical dominance of .com created a perception that it is the default extension for all businesses. What happens when you have a brand name but don't know the website? In most cases, we append .com at the end of the brand name, which shows how important it is compared to other TLDs.
In the early 2000s, the .com domains became widely acceptable for non-commercial websites. This change further pushed the adoption of the TLD in almost all industries. Today, over 47% of all registered domains are .com names.
From an 80-year-old grandma to a 13-year teenager, .com is the default domain extension. The TLD has been there for almost 40 years, and as long as users can remember your company name, they will try to search your website by adding .com.
Unlike other options like .biz or .info, it is easier to share your .com website verbally. Your customers can easily refer others to your site, thus increasing visibility and conversions.
Apart from websites, emails are also an essential component of any business. When sharing your business email, people will likely remember it if the extension is a .com.
According to a study by GrowthBadger, .com TLDs are 33% more memorable than other options. The statistics also show that people are 4 times more likely to assume a domain is .com when trying to remember your website.
3. Credibility & Trust
What happens when two individuals register the same domain name but with different TLDs? Most web users take the.com website as the bona fide owner of the brand.
The credibility can also be associated with the fact that most, if not all, giant companies use .com. Companies like Apple, Walmart, Microsoft, Facebook, and other popular
Although browsers don't favor any top-level domains, most suspicious websites avoid .com. This has led to increased trust among internet users. Furthermore, due to the higher cost associated with acquiring a .com domain, consumers view businesses that invest in a brandable .com as trustworthy.
Because of its long history, .com indicates that your business is established. The new TLDs reveal that you have a short online presence. This can turn off potential clients who want to do business with established companies.
4. Global Popularity & Acceptability
If you are looking for a non-limiting domain extension, .com is the solution. Unlike other TLDs, the extension has become acceptable for any location or industry. Consequently, expanding to more locations with a .com TLD is easier.
The extension is generally understood across several languages. This global accessibility makes .com an attractive choice for companies targeting an international audience or multinational businesses.
Unlike some domain extensions with registration restrictions, .com is easy to acquire. Other TLDs like .edu or .gov are not available to all domain owners. Therefore, it can be hectic to register them because of the compliance hurdles.
The applicability of .com domains across different industries makes it a popular choice. Whether in finance, technology, marketing, or any other field, you can use the extension for your website.
5. Online Authority
Although .com is not the short form for commander, the domain extension commands the Internet. Many individuals and businesses consider .com as the default choice for their online presence. This recognition as the standard TLD further reinforces the authority associated with .com.
There is also the question of .com and SEO. First, Google has stated that it doesn't give any TLD preference over the others. But we know that click-through rate is essential in ranking, and most people tend to click .com URLs. Therefore, although .com has no direct SEO advantage, other factors may increase its ranking.
Another aspect of online authority for .com domains is backlink potential. Other website owners are more likely to link to .com sites because they perceive that they are better than their alternatives.
6. Easily Brandable
Many businesses prefer .com extensions because they convey a sense of professionalism. In finance, technology, or consulting industries, having a .com domain can lend legitimacy and credibility to a brand, especially when targeting a broad audience.
Because it is short, some businesses use the whole URL as a brand name. For example, booking.com includes the domain extension in the brand name. This approach is only possible if the TLD is short and popular.
The brandability of .com domains is evident from the high demand. Unless a business owner wants to target a specific industry or location, the first TLD that comes to mind is .com. Some companies have invested millions to acquire brandable .com domain names. Rarely do you find a business owner willing to pay crazy amounts for other TLDs.
7. Domain Aftermarket & Investment Value
For domain investors, the potential value of a domain name is an essential consideration. The consistently high demand for the domain extension means you can fetch good returns.
Apart from that, because .com websites are universal, you can attract a wide pool of potential buyers. Therefore, it becomes easier to sell the domains. All domain auction platforms allow .com domain trading.
While the domain market is dynamic and subject to market forces, the historical performance of .com domains indicates their long-term growth potential. The continued dominance and popularity suggest that valuable .com domains may retain or increase their investment value in the future.
Alternatives of .com
While .com is the king of domain names, there are circumstances when alternatives are better. You can consider using .com alternatives if:
- You want a cheaper domain extension
- You want to target a specific location
- The .com option of your brand name is taken but not trademarked
- You are creating an industry-specific website
- You want to redirect different versions of your domain name
The most common .com alternatives are .co, .net, .org, .io, and ccTLDs. Let's look at the most appropriate circumstances to use these top-level domains.
This domain extension was initially meant for Columbia but gained global acceptance. It is a close version of .com because you only remove the letter "m."
Another reason .co is a good .com alternative is that it is short. It is the only domain extension that allows single-letter domain names. Therefore, it is easier to remember, and it also shortens URLs.
The domain extension allows you to buy most brandable domain names for less than $10.
Several well-known companies have adopted .co domains, which can lend credibility and social proof to your brand. Examples include Twitter (t.co) and Google (g.co).
The domain extension has a 5-year holding period with a 3-day renewal grace period. Therefore, the address requires vigilant domain monitoring to avoid losing your name.
If you are looking for a domain extension with almost the same reputation level as .com, you will not go wrong with .net. It is among the top 5 most popular top-level domains, with a market share of around 3%.
.net is common in networking and technology industries. However, it has gained traction in other sectors. The domain extension was launched the same year with .com. Therefore, its longevity has contributed to trust and credibility among internet users.
The TLD doesn't have any content or geo-location restrictions. Most companies register .net versions of their domain name to redirect traffic. A new .net domain name costs around $10 to $15. However, a premium domain name will cost more.
Because of its association with major organizations like United Nations and IMF, this is one of the most reputable .com alternatives. The domain extension commands almost 5% of the global TLD market share.
If you run a charity organization, educational institution, or museum, .org is a suitable top-level domain. Like .com and .net TLDs, this domain extension was among the first 6 to be launched in 1985.
Although .org is globally recognized, it is rare to find it on websites that engage in commercial activities. Therefore, it may be limiting if you want to use it for your business. But it is generally available compared to the other .com alternatives.
This is a case of mistaken identity turning into a beautiful story. When .io was launched in 1997, it was meant to be a country code TLD, representing British Indian Ocean Territory. But it became a cool option for tech companies because it could stand for input/output.
The domain availability is relatively higher compared to the other options. Apart from that, it doesn't restrict industry or location. However, it is more expensive than other .com alternatives. The price range is between $40 and $100.
Do you want to connect with locals, target a specific location, or splash some cultural aspect to your domain name? Then a country code top-level domain will do the magic.
Unlike the other options, this is a group of domain extensions that represent different countries. The most common ccTLDs are .ru (Russia), .us (United States), .uk (United Kingdom), .de (Germany), and .au (Australia).
The domain extensions can be SEO-friendly for content that targets a specific location. However, they are limited in registration and business reach. Some tools don't recognize new ccTLD when you want to analyze your domain.
Giant companies like Amazon have registered ccTLD alternatives for their brand to add a local touch to their business.
The Future of .com
We can only speculate what will happen to .com domain names. For the last 3 decades, the TLD has dominated the market, taking up almost half the market share. Its universal acceptance has cemented this dominance.
While there has been an increase in acceptance of alternative TLDs in recent years, such as .org, .net, and country-specific TLDs, .com continues to dominate. However, the changes in TLD management have led to industry and country-specific domain extensions.
Although .com may continue to dominate the industry for years, we will likely see a drop in its market share. Other domain extensions like .co, .net, .io, and .org are gaining traction in different industries. Apart from that, the introduction of new top-level domains (nTLDs) has increased the competition.
.com was, is, and will remain the king of domain extensions. The TLD has gained popularity because of its memorability, brandability, global recognition, historical importance, online authority, and after-market value.
Although .com alternatives like .io, .co, .net, and .org are gaining popularity, they will take time to overthrow the king, or it may never happen. However, .com will lose considerable market share, thanks to the emerging TLDs.
Is .com the best domain extension?
.com is considered the best TLD because of its global recognition and acceptability. Even giant companies like Google and Amazon use this domain extension. However, there are some exceptions, like when targeting specific locations, when ccTLDs may be better.
Is having a .com important?
Having a .com domain name is essential but not a must. The TLD makes your website look more credible and established. You can have alternative domain extensions and redirect the traffic to a .com TLD.
Why is .com the most used domain?
.com is the most used domain because it is memorable and one of the first TLDs to be launched. The domain extension is also recognized globally and has a good reputation. The TLD also accommodates all industries.
Does Google prefer .com domains?
Google does not prefer .com domains, and having a .com domain name does not give you any direct SEO advantage. However, it can create a positive user perception, which increases the click-through rate. Consequently, this could mean better ranking and more conversions.
Does having a .com domain extension affect SEO?
Having a .com domain extension does not directly impact SEO rankings. Search engines like Google do not give preferential treatment to .com domains in their algorithms. However, it's worth noting that a .com domain may indirectly influence SEO by creating a positive user perception, which can lead to higher click-through rates and potentially better search engine rankings. It's important to focus on other SEO factors like high-quality content, relevant keywords, website performance, and backlinks to improve your website's visibility in search engine results.