Janice Matheson of Bondi Junction, New South Wales asks:
I’m in the
11th hour before incorporating and have really worked hard to select my
new business name. So, I was disappointed to learn that the .com and
.com.au extensions for my proposed domain are already taken. I did
notice however that .biz, .info and .net are available. What are the
pros and cons of these less-used domain extensions? Are there any other
Kenelm Tonkin, Chairman, Tonkin Corporation
What a shame you missed the big two! .com speaks to your
global intentions. .com.au emphasises your local credentials. You can
take comfort in knowing many entrepreneurs have experienced the
disappointment you now feel.
There are two views about domain extensions. The first is that your
choice is irrelevant. The second is that it is central to branding. In a
sense, both are correct.
Those who argue that your choice is irrelevant take a pragmatic yet
optimistic view. They say many businesses have done well online with
.biz, .info and .net, even bettering their .com and .com.au rivals.
Concentrate on creating an amazing business and your customers won’t be
at all distracted about your choice of domain extension.
In the other camp are those who sense a branding opportunity. Each
extension implies an advantage: .com is global, .com.au is local, .biz
is fresh and unbounded, .info offers valuable information and .net is
interNET-centric. Similarly, extensions can possess an unwanted image:
.com can be shady if you can’t reach a real person, .com.au can be
geographically stifling, .biz can feel like a less legitimate .com,
.info might imply something less corporate and .net a little too techie!
Regardless, the image you cultivate through content and design will
overcome such stereotypes and impressions.
As for other options, .asia is great if you are heading north and .co is a new way to beat the .com blues.
With the two main domain extensions gone, you need to assess
carefully the image you are trying to project. Ask a few potential
customers what they think and let them influence you. Then, take a
breath. As long as you offer value to your customers, the domain
extension is really not such a huge concern. Focus on helping your
customer. Express this online through clever content and design.