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James Iles

Domain Data: Top 5 Most Popular Alternatives to .COM in 2017

By James Iles, Sep 25, 2017
  1. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    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.
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    Writer for NamePros.com. For all inquiries relating to stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 448th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (9)

  6. Doron Vermaat

    Doron Vermaat Email [email protected] for the fastest Efty support. Efty Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Most important to take away from this data is that the new domain name extensions have failed miserably in getting any traction among funded startups. Even an exotic ccTLD such as .Ai got more market share among startups than all the hundreds of new GTLDs combined.
  7. eko prasetio

    eko prasetio Top Member VIP

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    wow .co..
    i have some 1 word .co
  8. Mr. Deleted

    Mr. Deleted mrdeleted.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    We all know that is t .co and x .co. Not sure if you could not put an exception in the code for when you are referencing those sites without the http://? I mean its obvious that the intention was to stop spam, but when the forum is for talking about domains, sometimes we talk about domains that are URL shorteners...
  9. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    @Eric Lyon ?
  10. BaileyUK

    BaileyUK Top Member VIP

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    There's a lot of history to go with immediate 'Internet associations I think IO (io) . Not easily identifiable just an association that captures. 'Internet-Organisation' maybe the association that carries here
  11. elevator

    elevator DnCombo.com VIP

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    Yap! I 'm agreed with you. The first three are ccTLDs and followed by the two veterans
    NGTLDs have failed indeed.
  12. Eric Lyon

    Eric Lyon Member Services, NamePros Super Moderator PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Contest Holder

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  13. Grade8

    Grade8 Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    A very important observation in my opinion, however, the fact that the "exotic extension" such as AI is in this list, speaks to the potential long term viability of the GTLDs. Why? Because the only reason one runs their company under .AI is because they are or want to be known as an artificial Intelligence company. Which in and of itself is the core business model of all new G's, where the right side of the domain and the left side of the domain are equally important to the name of the company.

    Interesting stuff, but the presence of .AI for me - strengthens the viability of the new G's, rather than weakens.

    Full disclosure, less than 1% of my portfolio are new G's... (at the moment)
  14. Pooja Joshi

    Pooja Joshi New Member

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    There are many alternatives of .com domain like .IO, .CO, .net But recently more people are turning to
    .ooo domains. Because millions of domain names available in. ooo domains
    So you can easily get a .ooo (Dot-Triple-O) domain name of your own choice.
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