Premium TLDs: Not All Domain Extensions Are Created Equal

By on June 27, 2010

Some people may be under the impression that it’s what comes before the dot in a domain name that matters most. I would love to put that myth to rest.

In this article, I will be sharing my thoughts and opinions on the many domain name extension options available today and some that are coming soon.

Here is a brief explanation of the different types of top level domains.

Generic TLDs or gTLDs

These extensions include .COM, .NET, .ORG, .BIZ, .JOBS, .PRO, etc. ICANN is currently in the final rounds of policy making to open up applications for new gTLDs.

One of the first new gTLD extensions we will see is .XXX. Many others will follow such as .ECO.

Country Code TLDs or ccTLDs

These extensions include every country’s short-code. A handful of countries have been blessed with a pleasing acronym such as Tuvalu (.TV), Montenegro (.ME), and Colombia (.CO).

Other countries generally have to make due with local usage.

Which gTLDs are premium?

The clear winner is .COM. Most would agree that this is the best option for recognition, search rankings and inherent value.

Looking at .NET and .ORG sales, they are typically just a fraction of a comparable .COM sale. I will say that .ORG may be the best available option for organizations. I do not consider .NET at all, except for brand protection because it is a dated idea.

Aside from .COM, I don’t believe any other currently available gTLDs are premium quality.

I do admire and respect the promotion, innovations and community outreach by Telnic, managers of .TEL. However, I do not consider the gTLD itself to be premium. A premium alternative for what they are doing has not been created yet, it would be something like .SOCIAL.

.XXX, .MOBI, .BIZ, .PRO, .JOBS – These extensions all had the right intentions, but ultimately they are created for too small a niche to be premium quality in my book.

Which ccTLDs are premium?

I believe .ME is doing well after it’s launch just 2 years ago. Many successful websites are using the extension for blogging, social and personal apps. It has a broad, yet unique concept that is also memorable.

For the past few years, the internet and our televisions have been coming closer and closer together.  Finally this fall, Google TV will be made public, bringing the internet and a mass media of citizens to your TV box set. I think this will really seal the deal for .TV as a premium ccTLD. The extension has already had alot of success as businesses are founded and existing media outlets have adopted it with open arms.

On July 20th 2010, the unprecedented public landrush will take place for .CO domains. Unprecedented because of the phenomenal work by CoInternet in marketing the launch. There has been early adoption through innovative promotions like the CoFounders program in which Twitter was accepted and claimed T.CO.

So what makes .CO premium? The main fact is that it rides on the coat-tails of .COM. The extension could not have launched at a better time. Society has embraced bite sized information in the form of status updates, many of which contain odd two-letter ccTLD link shorteners.

This .CO extension will best other ccTLD options and will be adopted by a wide audience for both personal and business use. It also passes the requirement for both memorability and meaning, though in this case, .CO has a multitude of meanings.

More Premium gTLDs Coming Soon

The future is very bright for the domain industry. As I mentioned earlier, ICANN is finalizing policy to open up new gTLDs. This change will bring about many not-so-good domain extensions that you should avoid, but it will also introduce high quality extensions with real meaning and value!

For now, I’ve got my eye on a couple of generic .CO domains I’d like to develop or hold on to. GoDaddy’s .CO registration is $29.99/year and the public landrush will take place on July 20th 2010.

What domain extensions do you think are premium quality? Which ones are bad? Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments area.

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.