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Wednesday, 27 March 2013 2:19


By - Michael Rader

As you may know, there are several types of TLDs (Top Level Domains), such as .net, .org, .info, .co etc., but the most popular and sought after is, of course, the elusive .com. Your audience automatically associates your name with .com when going to search for your product or service on the Internet. The address is hard-wired into our brains. .Com is, and always has been, the internet. The .com TLD was the first on the Internet, which derived from the word commercial, when the Domain Name System was implemented in January 1985 and has grown to be the largest top-level domain and clearly into the most popular and sought after. It is used for virtually any commercial or non-commercial website and is generally accepted as the standard for TLDs.

If you have noticed, many magazines that feature advertisements for a new product or service often altogether leave out the URL extension because of this common understanding. It can also be considered a bit old fashioned and dated to include the extension. When was the last time you saw “” ever written out (besides writing it yourself to get to the site)? What about actually hearing someone say it? I am assuming not very often, if at all. By choosing to use an alternate TLD like .net or .info you are forced to communicate this in all advertising and marketing, since it is far less common. This can in turn seem too techie and withdrawn from common expectations. "It must not be that popular or important if the company is resorting to less recognized methods."

Look at the items around you. You won’t see the product brand written with a .com tacked to the end of it. What do you do when you instantly want to get more information on that brand? You likely go to the URL field and type in the brand with .com or search Google for that name, which will turn up the .com page anyway. Owning the .com of your company name is a must. The internet is constantly growing and becoming more and more important.

If your desired .com domain is in use, it is unlikely you will ever acquire ownership, unless you are able to pay out tens of thousands of dollars (or millions) to acquire that company. That is likely not an option.

So you have a choice:

  1. Own another less popular TLD of that name (.org, .info, .net, .biz… etc. (if any of those are available.), which will reduce your ownership of the name and limit your communication with the world.
  2. Use a domain name search tool to search for available domains similar to yours
  3. Browse enormous domain marketplaces with their never-ending lists of domains, tagged at wildly expensive prices, for a name that stands out to you, or…
  4. Visit Brandroot's visual catalogue of affordable and attainable .com domains, where only unique and studied potential brand titles exist.

Looking into each of these options:

1. Owning a less popular extension is the worst solution. 

Most companies will purchase other TLDs like .org and .info for other branches of their company.  The .org TLD would perhaps feature the non-profit side of their company (if they had one) or detail their involvement in donations to charities, scholarships or a free and open source alternative to their product.  The .info TLD, derived from the word information, would possibly provide informative internet resources regarding the business.  These TLDs are usually linked from the inside of the main .com website.  Rarely are they advertised as a sole section of their company. An example of this is Wordpress. You will find on options to purchase premium and business plans of their blogging software. On you will find the company’s open source software available for web developers.  

Today many businesses sadly resort to less popular domain TLDs like .net and .biz when the .com they want is unavailable. The .net TLD is derived from the word network, originally intended for organizations involved in networking technologies.  The .biz TLD was created to relieve some of the demand for .com domain names and to provide an alternative for businesses whose preferred .com domain had already been registered by another party. This is essentially like offering copper in place of gold because the demand for gold is so high.  Leave copper for the pennies.

Several well known companies have even changed their company name because the .com was not available. Had these companies resorted to a less valued TLD, their popularity likely would not have soared as they have. One of the initial names for Skype was “Sky peer-to-peer,” which was abbreviated to “Skyper.” However, “” was unavailable so the “r” was dropped upon finding that “” was available. Another large company, eBay, was originally called EchoBay. “” was already registered to a mining company, so the owner shortened the name to “” Learn from the giants.

Put simply, the .com TLD can be viewed as the parent while all the others fall under as its children. That is the primary use of most alternate TLDs, even though they have morphed to replace the most sought after web address. 

Do not register an alternate TLD as your company name. The process of changing your name later, once you realize a .com is totally necessary to become a large, growing company or firm, it is a grueling and overwhelming task.  You can also count on losing a number of clients, as the process of changing your name will mislead and confuse many of them.

2. Using a domain name search tool to search for available domains is not only extremely time-consuming and difficult (in finding what you need); it is also very often, fruitless, and can land you with a name you realize only later you don’t like or is actually detrimental to your business. Read on to learn from those who have lived and learned.

While some sites even offer generators to help you assemble a worthy domain, finding that perfect, professional name to match your product or service is near impossible. On top of the trouble of discovering that available domain, you, as an expert in your field, are probably not as well prepared as Brandroot in deciding if the name you found is a brand that will live as a popular, distinguished name.  Luckily, Brandroot offers a compact list of carefully picked names, which have the potential to sprouting into a common name like Skype and eBay.  We also offer consulting aid in finding what you need if our list does not include what you are looking for. Take a break from this lengthy text and brainstorm at Brandroot's brand page.

3. Browsing expensive domain marketplaces with their boring, never-ending lists of weak and useless domains is an option, but the mesmerizing and painstaking process can even cause you to purchase something you will regret later. 

Take Brandroot for example. After over two years of purchasing multiple names from these enormous marketplaces, spending thousands of dollars naming and renaming the company, we finally found a name we think will serve us well. We will discuss more about Brandroot’s name story later.

These domain marketplaces also give you no way of truly identifying with the name. All you get is the name and the outrageous price right next to it. Brandroot knows the process and the desires of entrepreneurs seeking a name for their ideas because, well, we went through the same thing and wanted a much better option. The more we learned about the process, the more tools we applied to Brandroot to help you make a better decision. What you are reading now is one of those tools. There are very limited resources on brand name research so we are making that available now.

The visual representation of name is so important because it allows you a glimpse into the branding possibilities of the name. When Brandroot was on its hunt for the perfect name (which we learned was impossible) we often designed logos for potential names just so we had a better idea of its overall image. No matter what the logo looked like, it still gave us a deeper look into the name’s makeup. We would then define its inherent characteristics, aiding us further in our decisions. This is what name consultations are made of, a lot of brainstorming, a lot of defining and a lot of visual. It’s nearly all done for you right here at Brandroot.

4. So your final option for finding a successful brand name is using Brandroot’s expertise in providing one for you. 

We are a professional brand name developer, having studied and analyzed what makes the best brand names. We also don’t want you to take our word for it. We want you to discover everything we have learned about the best company names in the world and why that is.

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:12

Michael Rader

With over ten years in web development and design, Michael Rader has expertise and technical know-how. But more than a skilled technician, he is an entrepreneur and innovator who helps startup’s and new businesses identify and define their future with a unique, brandable business name. Michael Rader is the founder and CEO of Brandroot®, a leading .com domain name marketplace. He currently lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where he operates the business and authors a blog dedicated to naming and brand name establishment.