If you’ve recently tried to name a company, product, or just a side project, you’ve probably gone through the frustration of seeing that all the .com names you’ve wanted were taken. For years, the only other decent alternatives were .net and .org domains, however those typically aren’t the best for companies. Recently the internet has been flooded with an array of new top level domains (TLD’s) which are much more descriptive than traditional ones.
Generic top level domains (gTLDs) also referred to as not-com domains, are slowly gaining traction as names continue to become sparse. Even Google has gotten in on the action with an Easter egg inspired by the HBO series, Silicon Valley. There’s literally hundreds to choose from, and some of them carry extravagant fees. .Luxury domains for example (suitable for selling French champagne, luxurious cars, and Miami condos) will set you (or your clients) back $799.99 a year. Putting aside that one exception most gTLDs are priced between $0.88 to $100/year.
Wondering why these domains are so expensive or why there are so many domains? The main reason is because most generic TLDs are privately owned – many of which were created just to cash in on the digital gold rush. The application process is extremely complex and requires applicants to put up hundreds of thousands of dollars up front. Annual maintenance costs also often are higher than $50,000. If you’re interested in using not-com domains but are concerned about trust and memorability, remember startups have been using country code (ccTLD) domains for a while now to create catchy names. A quick look through Product Hunt turns up many sites with .io (Indian Ocean), .us (United States), .ly (Libya), and dozens of others.