Whether you’re setting up a new company site or a personal blog, the .com domain shows you mean business. Customers will know your online store isn’t a figment of their imagination when they see it hosted on a .com site. Instantly recognizable, the .com extension is the gold standard for domain names. One of the original and most popular Top Level Domains (TLDs) on the web, a .com domain shows you mean business.
The .com domain extension was created back in 1985 as one of the first six TLDs when the domain name system (DNS) was first implemented. From the beginning, .com was considered a trusted TLD, even before the Internet as we know it existed. The very first website to claim the .com domain name was Symbolics.com, a computer manufacturer. Since then, over 130 million .com domains have been registered, greatly outpacing every other popular TLD.
Does .com Still Hold the Same Significance?
You might have noticed that the number of domain extensions available has exploded in the last few years. With all of the new TLDs— from new stalwarts such as .app, .dev, and .ai to the more obscure .popstar, .lol and .ninja—how do you know .com is still the answer for your business? The answer is a little complex, but here are some points to consider.
The new With popularity—rightly or wrongly—so firmly weighted in their favor, domains ending in .com are always in high demand. And like anything, with demand comes authority. That means .com domains are the most coveted of domains. They are seen as the gold standard, the phrase harkening back to the idea that gold (which, historically, only really had perceived value based on its beauty) is a benchmark that sets the value of all currency.
It’s often thought that by owning a .com, a company is projecting its legitimacy. The owner of the .com is seen as the main owner of that online ‘space’. If we were to analyze the reasons behind the favor for the .com TLD, it probably comes back to brand authority and wealth. To be the owner of a prestigious one-word .com TLD (e.g. amazon.com), you probably beat your competitors to the punch by being there first, by being financially superior, or both. Both of these reasons help to validate a company as being a safe bet to do business with.
We’ve all been there—trying to remember the right domain when we’re looking for a business website, and typing in the .com version of the company name hoping it will take us where we want to go. Of course, increasingly sophisticated search engines mean the site we’re looking for is much easier to find than it used to be. Even so, domains ending in .com are still the ones people will try, as the .com is so ingrained in our way of thinking about sites. Having a .com domain also makes conveying your domain easier at a networking event or radio ad, and adds a kind of ‘offline’ authority to it. We all know a .com domain name means business.
In many ways, this is the crux of the matter, and historically, the reason for the perceived value. Does a .com rank you higher with search engines, and have better online authority generally? There are many sites that will tell you .com domain names rank the best because most of the top-ranking sites are .com. This may be the case, but it doesn’t mean search engines ‘favor’ .coms. All that articles that cite statistics prove is the most common high-ranking sites are currently .com—which makes sense when you consider what the biggest sites tend to use. So you can rest easy if you own, or prefer, another domain extension. Back in 2015 Google said emphatically it doesn’t treat any non-geographic TLD differently from others in response to questions and misconceptions raised in a seminar. This even includes more obscure IDN TLDs (that’s TLDs in other scripts, like Arabic, to the uninitiated), as well as TLDs which include keywords that could be seen to help SEO (like .brand). So, in conclusion, .com is a gold standard, which like gold itself, gains most of its value from perception.
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We help clients find creative and brandable business names and also to provide web development services to assist them in today’s ever-changing digital market. Contact us for a free digital marketing discussion or to schedule a strategy session to learn how we can help your brand cut through the noise.