Almost everyone agrees that .com is the extension of choice for a global business. But if the .com is not available, what is the order of other extensions that are not specialized to a specific sector or country? In this article I look at registrations, aftermarket sales volume, number of major sales, web traffic, and number of major websites for each extension. Which Extensions To Include The first tough question is deciding which extensions, or top level domains (TLDs), to include in the analysis. While .net and .org had different original intention uses, they have become widely used general purpose extensions. On the other hand, I would argue that .info is geared to just one type of use, and should not be included. It probably makes sense to include the .biz extension, though. What about country code TLDs? The Google list of which are considered Generic Country Code Top Level Domains for search was used as a starting point. It is clear that .co and .io from that list should be included, and probably .cc as well. Others on the list, such as .tv, .ms, .la, .fm and .dj seem too sector specialized. Another extension on the generic Google list is .me. While it could be argued that not all terms work effectively with .me, it is so widely used that I have included it in this analysis. What about new gTLDs? While Google treat almost all new extensions as generic, most are only optimal for narrow sectors. Some of the most popular, like .club and .app, seem too narrow to include in a general purpose list, even though both have significant numbers of sales. Clearly .xyz is generic in nature. I kept two other widely registered and fairly general extensions, .online and .site as well. Registrations In order for an extension to lay claim to being a global generic extension, it needs visibility. One measure of that is number of registrations. That data is plotted below. I used registration statistics from DomainNameStats, the Verisign quarterly domain market reports, NameStat and Domain Tools. Clearly .net and .org have a substantial registration advantage over the other extensions in the study. It should be kept in mind that registration numbers are heavily influenced by promotions, as well as renewal costs. Registrations in extensions like .io are higher in price and never substantially reduced. Not surprisingly, registration numbers are lower in that extension. Also, renewal costs in extensions .io and .co, as well as in .online and .site, are higher than the others, again impacting registration numbers. Therefore registration numbers may not be a good indicator of TLD strength. Aftermarket Sales Volume A measure more directly applicable to the interests of domain name investors would be the dollar volume of aftermarket domain name sales. I limited attention to sales at $300 and up in order to eliminate many wholesale acquisitions. I also restricted the analysis to the preceding 12 months of sales. While .net leads in registration numbers, .org is higher in sales dollar volume. Number of Major Sales I also took a look at the number of $5000+ major sales in each extension. I restricted the view to 2021, to show what is selling very recently (data in NameBio database up to May 25, 2021 included). While .org has a clear lead, after that .net, .io and .co are nearly equal. However, .io continues to trend up, so the picture may well be different by the end of 2021. Website Traffic Another indictor that an extension has achieved high generic status is taking a look at website traffic. One measure is obtained from CISCO Umbrella statistics. The data is based on the number of unique DNS queries made for a domain, only counting those from different IP addresses. Cisco do not provide numerical use data in the public feed, simply the rank order, so it is possible that some differences in rankings are not significantly different. Here is the ranking of the extensions based on web traffic as measured by Cisco Umbrella data. .net .org .io .co .me .xyz .cc .online .biz .site Number of Alexa 1M Websites Another indicator of use is the number of websites in the extension that have achieved Alexa 1M status. That data is plotted below. The legacy .net and .org extensions have a clear advantage, with io and .co about equal to each other but down by a factor of 3 compared to .org. Although still less than io and .co, .xyz has increased over past year and is now the next highest extension from our list. Startup Use Another obvious indicator is to look at the extensions being adopted by startups. The Dofo Blog took at look at the extension preference of Y Combinator companies. After .com, they found that the most used extensions were .io by 5.8% , .co by 3.7%, and .org by 1.8%. A number of months ago, James Iles performed an extensive analysis of com alternatives among 60,000 startups from the Crunchbase data over the years 2015 through 2020. Of the extensions considered here, .io was used by 4364 companies, .co by 2878, .net by 936, .org by 767, and .me by 459. More Information I had hoped that the analysis would have suggested a clear ordering. It is likely that the .io, .net, .org and .co extensions are the next four, in some order. If one concentrates on sales or startup use .io can perhaps claim the title of number two. If one places more emphasis on web use or registrations, it seems that .org or .net might deserve the number 2 position. The position of .co is not much below the others. Likely .xyz has risen to be next in line after the main four. It has increased during the past year in all of registrations, sales, major sales and web use. That said, it is still well below the other four overall. Please vote in the associated poll and share in the comments your views of the order of general purpose extensions after .com. Some of the extensions in this analysis have been the topic of detailed NamePros Blog analyses. I summarize the links below. .IO Why Is The IO Extension So Popular? Types of IO Names That Sell .ORG Look at Type, Length, Venues for Major ORG Sales .CO Strong 2020 in CO .NET Major NET sales. Nine Things About NET .CC A Close Look at CC Domain Names. I acknowledge data from the following sources DomainNameStats, Verisign quarterly domain market reports, NameStat, Domain Tools, NameBio, Cisco Umbrella, and Alexa, as well as data in blog posts from the Dofo Blog and James Names.