The original intention was that extensions would play a key role in specifying the type of website that would be on that domain name. Domain names ending in .com were originally intended to be commercial in nature, while .org was intended for organizations, mainly nonprofit ones, and .net was to be used for network-related applications. Rather soon, however, it was realized that it would be nearly impossible to enforce these intentions, and most top level domains (TLDs) were allowed to be used in any legal way. While this has increased the potential use pool for domain names, it has also resulted in a more confusing domain world. You could use a .com for a nonprofit organization, or .net domains in applications that had nothing to do with networks. Proponents of a single generic TLD, .com, argue that is the one that should be used for everything. In some extensions, restrictions have remained in force. For example, .mil is restricted to U.S. military use, .edu to educational institutions, and .int for designated international organizations. Extensions restricted to certain professions or types of business or organizations were introduced. For example, only recognized co-operatives can use the .coop extension, while only banks can register and use the .bank TLD. You must be a realtor, a trademarked term, to use the .realtor domain extension. Only aviation affiliated entities, such as airports, can use the .aero extension. While the new domain extensions offered an opportunity to increase sector-specific restrictions, very few new extension registry owners have introduced such restrictions, and a few that did have now removed them. In some cases restrictions have been relaxed over time. For example initially .pro was restricted to certain professions, but some years ago it became open to all. The brand domain extensions, such as .kpmg, .bmw, .google, .apple and many more, are completely restricted to use within that company or organization that own them. Country Codes That Are Now Generic In some cases a country code has come to be used mainly by those outside the region. For example, .io is much better known as a tech startup domain extension than it is for the Indian Ocean region of the Pacific, and .ai is rapidly becoming known for artificial intelligence, rather than Anquilla. When you see a .tv domain name you think video and television, and not necessarily Tuvalu. For a few extensions, such as .co and .me, there is both a strong country use of the TLD, as well as a generic global use. Clearly the degree to which an extension finds both types of use impacts the breadth and types of names that are good domain investments. Considering how attractive an extension like .tv or .me can be, you are perhaps wondering how the letters associated with a country are determined. It is set mainly through something called the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 specification. You can see which codes are implemented, reserved and potentially available for use by new countries in this document. What Does Google Say? In search algorithms Google takes region into account. For example, I live in Canada and the .ca extension is restricted to those with a Canadian presence, so Google assumes that sites on .ca extensions are mainly of interest to Canadians. Google needs to decide which TLDs are largely regional to optimize search. In the most recent authoritative post I could find, Google designates the following country codes as generic. .ad .as .bz .cc .cd .co .dj .fm .io .la .me .ms .nu .sc .sr .su .tv .tk .ws Notice anything about the list? I did. I was surprised that several country codes that are widely assumed by domain investors to be used in a generalized way, for example .ai for artificial intelligence, .gg for good game or global gaming, .pw for professional web and .vc for venture capital are not on the list. Is it just because the list is not up to date, or have these extensions really not yet been designated as generic for Google search purposes? In some cases generic use has grown only recently. For example, .ai began to adopt the Extensible Provisioning Protocol, which makes it much easier for registrars to handle a TLD efficiently, only in 2017. Match Across Dot Matters One thing that new extension investors learn early on, is that the most desired names are single word with a strong match across the dot. Both sides of the dot work together to form a meaningful phrase, idea or potential brand. But that is not true only in new extensions. While a great word to left of dot, especially in .com will have high value, the potential power of many names is even greater when there is a match on the both sides of the dot. Get Creative To Promote That Name If matches are powerful, and if meanings to extensions that were not originally intended can be applied, can anyone do that? Might it be a largely untapped way to help promote certain domain names? Let me give an example. Let’s say you have some domain name in the .pw extension. Initially that was the country code for the Pacific island nation Palau, and currently the registry officially promote the extension as meaning professional web. But, depending on your name, could it not equally well mean personal web, personal wellness, personal wealth or many other things? Some businesses have already done this - for example the domain name get.pw redirects to PriceWaiter.com and clearly their hope is you will remember them via the memorable term get combined with the initials of their company. Have you ever tried promoting a domain name arguing an alternative interpretation of the extension? Do you think the idea has potential? There are numerous sites online to help search for potential applications for any acronym - two I like are Acronym Finder and the acronym section of The Free Dictionary. CC Can Mean Many Things The .cc domain extension is officially the country code for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. However, for a long time it has found generic use. The letters could mean many things. Here are a few possibilities, but the list could be much longer. creative commons cycling club cricket club credit card Chinese company Cape Cod Christian Church (or Catholic Church} creative classroom community college clinical center climate change country club carpet cleaning carbon (or certified) copy command (or control) center crypto currency (or currencies) With so many strong naming words (creative, cash, center, code, company, etc.) starting with C, the possibilities are almost endless. Use with any country name starting with C is also possible, such as Canadian concepts. What Could VC Mean? The .vc domain extension officially refers to the country code for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but it has found increasing use by venture capital funds. But if we think only in terms of venture capital, are we being too narrow in our thinking around .vc? Some other possible meanings are listed below. video conferencing virtual class (or classroom) virtual currency virtual conference visual (or video) catalog vacuum cleaners virtual consultation vote choice Vegas or virtual casino visual communication vehicle center verified clean virtual college voice control virtual ceremony visual (or virtual) cruise virtual community very cool I believe very few of these applications find current use, and that might remain true, but I think there is a possibility that .vc use may expand to applications outside venture funding. The virtual sectors show particular potential within the current climate of moving education, consultation, and conferences online only. Please Share Your Ideas I am not suggesting to go out and register a bunch of names thinking someone might use the TLD in some new way. However, if you have names of high inherent quality, perhaps this has suggested avenues to widen the potential end use. If you know of an authoritative longer list of country code extensions that Google considers generic, please post the link in the comments. I hope readers will share some of their favorite alternative meanings for generalized country-code extensions. Also, if you have ever successfully used an alternative meaning of the code right of the dot to help sell a name, please share that experience with us.