With the new “not-com” domain extensions, we finally have an option when it comes to finding the perfect online name.

When you think about it, the way we’ve been using the Internet has changed dramatically over its relatively short existence.

Remember Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, or Lycos? These sites were our search engines of choice in the early 2000s. Now, Google is the dominant engine.

Remember social networking sites MySpace, Friendster, and Xanga? These sites are no longer relevant. Now it’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Today, we can order lunch through the Internet, do all our banking online, and binge-watch complete television series through the web.

One thing has been slow to change however: we’ve continued to use the same legacy domain name extensions, like .com, since the 1990s.

google search

How did this happen?

During the early ages of the Internet, maintenance of the World Wide Web was overseen by just one man: a computer scientist named Jon Postel, a university researcher working under contract with the United States government.. However, as the popularity of the Internet grew, the US Government set up a nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to take over the task.

At the time, there were only a handful of generic domain name extensions available for registration, such as .com, .net, .org, .edu, and .mil. This initial set of top-level domains was defined in 1984.

For this reason, we naturally think .com is king. According to Verisign, the administrator of the .com domain extension, there are more than 120 million .com names registered today.

But as the number of global Internet users will double from its current number by 2020, the number of meaningful .com names will diminish. According to research from WhoAPI.com, the Internet is out of available four letter .com domain names.

The era of “not com”

In 2014, ICANN launched a new roster of generic top-level domains, also known as “not-coms”. There are currently 807 different generic top-level domains in the market. Examples of such domain extensions include .click, .link, and .help, which are owned and operated by Uniregistry, a leading registry in the domain name industry.

www

There are also domain extensions targeted towards more niche industries. Extensions like .flowers, .guitars, and .cars. According to nTLDStats, there are almost 10.5 million generic top-level domain registrations today.

But are these new top-level domains worth while? Who is registering these names?

Leading international brands are investing in the gTLD space. Nike, Manchester United, and Apple have registered new “not-com” names. Celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, and major film franchises, like “The Hunger Games,” have also joined the new domain era.

While some have filed for these new domain extensions as a way to protect their brand, many are using them to grow their business.

Brands can choose a web address that aligns better with their industry. For example, Dos Gringos, an expert grower and supplier of sunflowers, partnered with Uniregistry to launch Sun.Flowers. Instead of using a .com or .org website, Dos Gringos found a domain name that immediately conveys what their business is all about, bringing more marketing value to their online presence.

Inkit.tattoo is the world’s first social network for the “tattooed, tattoo artists and tattoo wannabes.” The site uses a .tattoo extension as their main URL.

As more brands move to gTLDs, the space is only expected to grow. The way we find each other on the Internet is changing right before our eyes. It’s the next era of online connections that will form the root of global communication.

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Posted by Marcus Jensen

Marcus is an Australian IT support professional. He's running his own business, working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. In his free time he enjoys SciFi books and movies.

One Comment

  1. […] all probability, you’ve already spent hours thinking about your domain name, trying to figure out which one you should choose. It’s almost expected from you to have that […]

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