Bob Hawkes

Getting Creative Right Of The Dot

By Bob Hawkes, Sep 17, 2020
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    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 redirects to 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.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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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 57th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
  5. Comments (29)

  6. OnlineDomainShop

    OnlineDomainShop Screamers.Com VIP Blue Account

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  7. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks I don't know how that got omitted (I even tweeted that possibility a few weeks ago). Thanks for pointing it out, and I have edited the list to add it.
  8. NickB

    NickB VIP

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    Nice write up.....

    Being creative is all well and good but researching end user usage is important, with .vc for example the big majority of end users are Venture Capital firms using this extension.

    It's all well and good saying there are multiple acronyms but if you want to increase the likelihood of a sale stick to which way the wind is blowing....strong keywords that match the industry for the majority of end users....
  9. Mul9

    Mul9 Established Member

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    Great insights.

    Some extensions are good but it's difficult to convince the end user . Because as a domainer we understand all these things . But other people don't want to learn all these things.

    I like the .CC extension. And there are many gems available to register in this extension. But not easy to sell these domains.

    Some businesses even don't consider .CO also. They just know about .COM

    Thanks for sharing this awesome guide.
  10. honestbobby

    honestbobby Established Member

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    really great insights....thanks
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  11. dgmweb

    dgmweb Established Member

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    Excellent guide. I've used .tv in the past for web series projects, I never knew it was supposed to be a country code. Besides tech, I see .io used a lot in games and art. And .fm is a no-brainer for music streaming (anyone remember

    thanks for sharing this.
  12. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Top Contributor VIP

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    Just remember one basic rule:

    Any 2-letter (LL) domain extension is a Country Code TLD (ccTLD). No exceptions.
  13. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks for another well explained and good article Bob!

    By the way... Congrats for your 20,000 likes! Totally deserved! Keep up the good work Bob!
  14. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Top Contributor VIP

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    If everyone in the world was like Bob, it would probably be a really nice place to live... as opposed to the rotting cesspool that it actually is.
  15. TauseefKhan

    TauseefKhan Established Member

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    There is a term for it - Repurposing or upcycling - a strategy for identifying new uses outside the scope of the original one. Customers are the ones that give the final verdict for any service or product branding and that may include repurposing. Thanks for sharing yet another informative and analytically thought-out post.
  16. VIP

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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  17. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks again Bob for a well written article.
  18. unmark

    unmark Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Great article. Informative and smart, a goldmine for newbies.
  19. jim h

    jim h Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    I have got Casino.Salon ,Thank you for sharing.
  20. RogueWriter

    RogueWriter Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I am truly surprised we have not seen .nfl .nba .wnba .mlb, as that would standardize all the teams in a league, and nip any competitive use domains in the bud, (player) could be a page, or whatever.

    If I was a registrar trying to bring new extensions out, I would be going after those leagues, trying to work management deals with them, multimillion dollar business deals right from the start, imo.
  21. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Again another excellent write-up from @Bob Hawkes

    Way back about 2005 I used to be a big fan of dot cc domains. I had an awesome 5 letter dictionary word that almost sold several times but I could never seem to close the deal because the buyers and I valued it differently.

    Long story short, I should have sold it back then because life got in the way and I forgot to renew it UGH!

    So I got nothing other than paying renewals for 10 years offset by some affiliate sales.

    I just checked and some Chinese company snagged it.

    Sure would have been nice if it was the dot com :arghh:

  22. wot

    wot Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The biggest problem with right of the dot country codes that are being touted as something other than the original usage is that the new meaning has to be explained defeating the object, prime example .vc as venture capital. This seems to have been exploited to sell domain names as with many other cctld.
    For whtever reason a few like .io and .co have overcome that problem, most have not.
  23. roynsdx

    roynsdx Established Member

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    I recently bought "" for a new company which I'm currently creating. I wanted the name to be somehow clever :xf.grin: but the word "clever" was registered in 314 extensions already according to so I think that I was lucky to get extension which I think it's very generic. and doesn't interfere with the word "clever"

    thank you for writing this long article it was very informative
  24. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks everyone for all of the contributions in the comments!
    I agree that venture capital followed by actual use in the country are the majority of active websites, and one should invest in .vc with that in mind. That said, there are already some other uses I noticed in a few minutes of searching around video and virtual conferencing.
    • The name (no i don't really understand abbreviation) gets significant traffic as a redirect to, a virtual conferencing and collaboration site.
    • is active and about virtual conferencing
    • is active as video and virtual events/conferences
    • is active a AV and media design
    • is a active as a virtual cycling site, interesting idea.
    But I agree with your point - keep your focus on the major uses.

    Thanks for saying this, I seem to recall it was a few months into domaining before I realized this.

    Thanks I actually had not noticed it until I got a "trophy" notice from NamePros for the milestone. I am thankful for all of the support and encouragement from so many in this community, more than you will ever know.

    Thanks for your kind words. I try to emphasize the positive and recognize we should not be quick to judge as we don't always know the true story of what others are experiencing. I truly appreciate the diversity of expertise, experiences, views and styles we have on NamePros.

    Thanks so much for contributing those terms, which if I had heard had not thought about in this context. I plan to look more into the broader idea you express.

    An interesting idea. I have made a note to some day research if leagues have either sponsored brand names or an open new gTLD. Could see it working as you suggest.

    That is such a sad end to story after having multiple offers on a great name! Finding the right pricing is so hard.

    That is true, but in a way I view it that it is kind of like an affordable brand extension. Let's say I want to have a business called WORD Virtual Ceremonies, offering virtual events for anniversaries, weddings, etc. Now I could try to get a domain name like or brand on I think the hundreds (thousands?) of venture capital have made that choice, but there is no real reason why it could not work for something else. I did pick up some .vc on the current promotion, not a truckload, and in some of those names I liked them because I saw the name working for venture capital but also working for virtual classes or virtual conferencing, so felt I was broadening the potential user pool.

    You have made the essential point, and for months I have been trying to see why it is that most country codes never get traction in a generic way, but a few take off. Even after spending a long time researching .io use and sales, and the history, and the politics, and everything, I am really unsure why it took off while others did not. I listed 11 possible reasons that .io is so popular, but I still can't see exactly. I think it is some combination of the aesthetics of the extension (io feels lively to me), how promoted it is, whether it gets some early major use, etc. it is very hard to predict which will and which will not take off, and if you wait to be sure it is too late to get good names at reasonable prices.

    Thanks again for many good points made by many people.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  25. dombastic

    dombastic Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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  26. Top 4L [email protected] PRO VIP Gold Account

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  27. eurorealtor

    eurorealtor VIP

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    End users don't speculate about possible meaning of an extension. They use com for commercial, org for organisation, de for Germany, etc. All other is "mostly" just a game of domain investors.
  28. Jimmysun

    Jimmysun Established Member

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    Don’t ever underestimate young generations’ IQ, they’re way smarter than you think which they know it’s just a domain name that they can choose whatever they want, new extensions cheap and nice why not using them. Instead, they know something you don’t know.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  29. eurorealtor

    eurorealtor VIP

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    Maybe, but they will register one on their own.... won't pay big bucks to buy one from domain investor.... so what's the point to invest in these?
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