What are the top five most popular alternative extensions to .COM? To find out the answer to this question, we have taken data from almost six thousand companies that received funding in between January 1st and June 30th, 2017. This was an easy process thanks to a Crunchbase Pro license. As you might expect, .COM is the most popular extension by far, with 77% of the companies we looked at were using .COM domains. But what if acquiring the perfect .COM is out of the question? Which domain extension is chosen? Let’s find out. 1 .IO Behind .COM, the most popular alternative domain extension is .IO with 233 domains. This extension is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory but has become a popular destination for startups looking for an alternative to .COM. Eventually, some startups may look to upgrade to a .COM domain. For example, customer service company Intercom started life on Intercom.io, but after raising over $100 million, the company bought Intercom.com and Inter.com. The .IO extension seems to be particularly useful to a company that wants a short domain name. Companies such as Flow (flow.io), Eden (eden.io) and Hull (hull.io) since their .COM equivalents are either fully developed or too expensive. 2 .CO The next most popular within our list is .CO with 198 domains. Originally assigned to Columbia, the extension was taken over by .CO Internet S.A.S who removed restrictions on registering .CO domains, meaning that anyone in the world can now register a .CO. Companies such as Twitter (t.co), GoDaddy (x.co) and Google (g.co) use .CO domains as URL shorteners. Recently funded startups such as Fig rely on a .CO domain as a more accessible alternative to Fig.com. From the data available, it’s interesting to note that many of the companies on our list have opted to register a brandable .CO domain rather than pursue the same brandable name in the .COM extension. We can take Shapr as a great example. Having raised a total of $16.7 million in funding, the company still uses Shapr.co whilst Shapr.com resolves to a parked page. 3 .AI The .AI extension has gained popularity in recent years. Despite the higher registration fees of around $100 for two years, companies are choosing the extension as an alternative to .COM, with eighty-one domain names in our list being .AI. The rise in popularity of .AI has several four and five-figure sales this year, with Leg.ai, Robot.ai and Automation.ai all selling for $10,000 or more. From looking through the list of .AI domain names of companies funded this year, it looks as though .AI may have been chosen so that the companies in question could acquire a shorter, memorable domain without having to pay a six or seven figure fee to acquire the .COM, if it was even available at all. One-word domains such as Drive.ai, Fluent.ai and People.ai are all used by companies on our list. 4 .ORG In fourth place is .ORG. This may be a surprising addition to you, but there are seventy organizations within our list using the .ORG extension. The vast majority of these domain names are used by scientific endeavours that have been given grants this year. Crunchbase doesn’t differentiate between traditional funding and grants, which is why the .ORG extension appears on the list. There are a few companies that have opted to launch on a .ORG, however. One such example is full-stack monitoring company Sensu, who have used SensuApp.org since their inception in January 2017. Sensu.com is owned by Sensu London, a dental clinic. 5 .NET The fifth most popular alternative to .COM is the veteran extension of the group, .NET. With sixty-five uses, it lags behind modern alternatives like .IO and .CO, but it remains a viable alternative to .COM. Whilst there is a fair share of very poor domain names being used (such as sex-positive.net), there are one or two .NET domains listed that are creating powerful brands. The best example of this is Common.net. This domain is the home of Common Networks, a Californian company that was founded in 2016 who have raised a total of $9.3 million in funding.