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Bob Hawkes

After .COM, What Comes Next?

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By Bob Hawkes, May 27, 2021
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After .COM, what do you think is currently the next strongest general extension?

  1. .CO

    113 votes
    22.2%
  2. .IO

    155 votes
    30.5%
  3. .NET

    123 votes
    24.2%
  4. .ORG

    84 votes
    16.5%
  5. .XYZ

    33 votes
    6.5%
Total: 508 vote(s)
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    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.

    GraphRegistrationsTLD.png

    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.

    GraphVolumeTLD.png

    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).

    GraphMajorTLD.png

    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.
    1. .net
    2. .org
    3. .io
    4. .co
    5. .me
    6. .xyz
    7. .cc
    8. .online
    9. .biz
    10. .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.

    GraphAlexaTLD.png

    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

    .ORG

    .CO

    .NET

    .CC



    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.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 93rd blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
    https://namesthat.win
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  5. Comments (119)

  6. Dot.us

    Dot.us Top Contributor VIP Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    And .us ? No? I think in pull deserve a place (imo)
    + .com is more used on USA so if a .com not available or to expensive .us is the right option
    past 2 years .us 339k total volume in sale (331 sales ) .xyz 375k but only 189 sales
    This are only reported on Namebio
    Just Efty announce Signal . us sold with 12 k
    Thanks for article
    Kind regards,
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  7. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    Super post @Bob Hawkes. One thing I would add "country code TLDs" or "another extension" as an option to your poll. Otherwise it gives the impression that one of the current selections (.co .io .net .org .xyz) is the second-best solution after .com. In the U.K. (pop 66 million) I can assure you that co.uk most definitely comes before ANY of these extensions.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  8. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    There is no doubt (including here in Canada!) that country codes are the second or even the first choice. But the purpose of this article was to look only at extensions considered generic. Sorry if my writing did not make that clear. Certainly some global companies choose to brand around a national country code, but that is not what this article is about.

    The same argument is about .us @Dot.us . Yes Zoom.us and many others important global companies use .us, but it is still a national country code rather than a generic one. If a country code did not make the Google generic list (see link in article), I did not consider it for this analysis. It is not to say that such domain names are not highly valuable, and I would argue in case of .us becoming moreso.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  9. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    this is availability only, like fish.net is better sometimes than fish.com if you are selling fishnets. ty Mr Bob. Same with any hacks or what you are looking for exactly, but in general this is correct. ty.
     
  10. Ngawangtashi

    Ngawangtashi Established Member

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    Great Post Sir ,Lovely insight
     
  11. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    i dont think americans think of .us like other countries think of their cctld. France, Norway, Sweden, Holland use their country code before they even look at the dot com.
     
  12. Pierre Barnard

    Pierre Barnard Top Contributor VIP

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    .CO.ZA --> but maybe I'm a little biased. :xf.grin:
     
  13. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    No research undertaken but I think in U.K. if .com is unavailable a commercial company would choose .net and non-profit would choose .org (if org.uk was unavailable). That's what I would do. Probably because .net and .org are the safest options for established businesses. Startups probably choose anything that makes them stand out. Including .xyz.
     
  14. secretagentdad

    secretagentdad Upgraded Member Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I'm been letting most of my non .coms expire.

    Always interesting to see what gets left unregistered and what gets picked up and listed.
     
  15. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    .Net

    Cant spell internet without “Net”

    Original 3 OG, I am 💯% .com, however.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  16. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    @Samer

    .in

    Can't spell internet without "in"

    (y)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  17. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  18. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    dot co is perfect for company, but dot net sounds more internetish. :)
     
  19. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Slideshare.com
    Déjà vu (there more more net to com in thread
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  20. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    NET/ORG are far more well known with the general public than .IO, .CO, etc.

    I would have no problem developing a top quality .NET.

    .ORG can often be the first choice for some people, groups, and organizations.

    Brad
     
  21. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    hear, hear!

    .Net would be my “placeholder.”

    i assure you, would have .com ambitions.

    Samer
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  22. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks did not realize about 2019 poll. Not sure I agree nothing changed. I am expecting .io to come out stronger in 2021 than in 2019, but maybe not. We will see.

    And those promoting country codes, I love national country codes. But poll and article is on generic extensions, not specific to a country or a sector. Can anyone register the extension? Is it on Google list to be treated non-regionally? Is it in major use across many different global regions? Unless all 3, I did not consider it here.

    An interesting question is in which regions the country code is number 1 or 2. But that is not this poll or article.

    Bob

    PS sorry about the BBedit code in the poll question. I pressed return by mistake and this got posted slightly before my final checks. I have a question in with admin to see if it can get changed - my poll editing ability seems restricted to the responses.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  23. NickB

    NickB it's a mystery VIP

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    I voted .org - established, trusted and the (long) sales history for me says it all....
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  24. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    @Bob Hawkes Request, please can you do this one "An interesting question is in which regions the country code is number 1 or 2. But that is not this poll or article" in the future?
     
  25. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Not “wikipedia” fan for obvious reasons : ) but.. this a bonafide com-to-org. Nice find, Nick :)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  26. jhm

    jhm Glazed

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    The ".io" extension after ".com" ...really guys?

    Dot Net

    ...BUT, the ".org" can fit better than ".net", in some cases (situational)

    Internet business, I vote .net. Organisations (physical organisations, but not always), then ".org" ...again, situational
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  27. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Really only .COM, .ORG, and established ccTLD are first choices for most end users.

    Good branding words might sell in .IO or .CO, but show me one person that would take that over the .COM if available. Most of the companies that are successful on these extensions end up upgrading later.

    With .ORG for instance I would actually rather own Cancer.org than Cancer.com. Some terms just fit better and the extension brings much more credibility.

    I have sold domains like CureCancer.org. It is just a much better fit in that extension than .COM IMO.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  28. Rex Powers

    Rex Powers Grrr8Domains Gold Account

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    I would vote for .Org
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  29. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    .LIVE has 47 total reported sales since 2015.

    In the last (2) years there have been (16) reported sales for $46K.

    That extension is kind of irrelevant to this debate.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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