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Your Website's URL: An Expensive .com Domain Name... or These Creative Alternatives?

by Mark Skoultchi  |  
August 5, 2015
  |  2,596 views

One of the hardest financial decisions you'll face when naming or renaming a company or product is whether you should splurge for the exact .com domain name—and, if not, how you should adapt the URL so that it fits with your brand and allows consumers to easily find your site.

On the one hand, buying an exact .com domain makes finding your website much easier for customers and lends invaluable prestige to your company. On the other hand, purchasing an exact .com domain can be very expensive, especially if you are looking for a real English word.

Furthermore, limiting yourself to just exact .com domains will likely exclude names that otherwise would work well for your brand but are simply unavailable for purchase as a domain.

Here is my advice for anyone struggling with such a decision.

Buying the Exact .com Domain


You should probably pursue the exact .com domain in the following three situations:

  1. If your company is involved in online commerce, or consumers make transactions through your website, then invest in the exact URL. Retailers benefit from the cachet of an exact domain. Also, you don't want customers to have difficulty finding you; if they have to google you, they can be potentially siphoned away by ads or other search results.
  2. If you are renaming an established company that previously had an exact .com, you should procure the exact .com for your new name as well. Opting for a modified URL in that situation would be a step toward lower prestige and could exacerbate a (fairly unavoidable) period of confusion after the renaming.
  3. If you are the sole heir to the fortune of Mrs. Moneybags—or you're VC-backed—and you have ample funds at the ready, then go for it! You might as well give your company as much of an advantage as possible.

The reality is, however, that most startups or SMBs don't have the money to pay for a premium domain—and that's OK. They still have some common options for finding an available, affordable Web address:

  • Modifying a .com domain
  • Using a country code top-level domain (ccTLD)
  • Using a global top-level domain (gTLD)

Modifying a .com Domain


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Mark Skoultchi is a partner at Catchword, a full-service naming company founded in 1998, with offices in the San Francisco Bay area and New York City. Contact Mark at 212-472-8936.

LinkedIn: Mark Skoultchi

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Comments

  • by Lynn Wed Aug 5, 2015 via web

    This is a timely topic. Our company has recently ventured into and purchased domain names that aren't the typical .com/.org URLs. We recently purchased Providers.Exchange and other domain names such as .Services, .Tips and .Click. These domains will live as sub-sites accessed from our corporate site. We've given considerable thought on how traffic will flow for SEO. Any thoughts or articles on how these new domain names are affecting SEO, how to educate users to the new domains and best ways to incorporate into corporate brand?

  • by Luke Wed Aug 5, 2015 via web

    My trepidation on using the global top level domains is that when advertising the domain, people might automatically put a .com at the end of it. Like if the domain denver.marketing was available. It would suck if people typed in denver.marketing.com automatically to get to your website.

    -Luke

  • by Jenny Fri Sep 4, 2015 via web

    There are so many creative domain extensions like. tech, .me,. io, .space

    We tell our clients to not restrict themselves to .com.

    - Jenny Li

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