web-site address help
November 12, 2012 5:09 AM   Subscribe

help with web-site address

So I purchased a domain to use for a business I might be starting, to use for e-mail/web-site

I purchased it with a '.us' extension instead of '.com' because the latter was pricey while the former wasn't, although both were available.

I figured the '.us' wouldn't hurt me much since I'd be working with people in other countries, and they would like to be reminded of my US identity, makes business a bit smoother for me.

But now I'm worried because I realized that people can accidentally type in the .COM site and realize that I didn't want to shell out the $1300 to get it and the business I'm trying to launch works on high-profile stuff where being uber-professional and 'shiny' matters.

Does this matter? I really like my business name and would like to stick with it. So using another web-site address isn't the option I'm looking for. Do I need to buy the domain that costs 1300?
posted by saraindc to Work & Money (7 answers total)
How many people in your industry can you think of who use a .us domain name? I tend to find it a little bit unusual but I doubt it's any reason not to do business with you especially if your site looks good. Remember your business name and domain name don't have to be identical, is there anyway you can adjust it, add something on to the end perhaps? Use initials for part of it?

Also, in case you don't realise, $1300 is not a standard fee for a .com domain name, if you buy it your money is going to a domain squatter. Although chances are they might let it go for much cheaper, $1300 was just them seeing if you'd go for it and if not when they sell it to you for $200 you'll feel good about getting $1000 off. What are their odds of selling it to someone else? Especially once you've already set up a business with that name?
posted by purplemonkeydishwasher at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Registering a .com doesn't cost $1300; the price you're seeing must be someone who has parked the domain offering to sell it -- that price may be negotiable. (Are you seeing that price at the registrar? Or are you looking at some reseller somewhere?)

That said I think there generally is a perception that, all else being equal, having a non .com address means you were too late to the party to get the"real" address and had to settle for an alternate. Whether that perception holds overseas as well I do not know.

(Having a .us instead of a .com can be problematic in some other ways -- I have a .net and people frequently try to send email to me at the .com version of the domain instead, however often I remind them not to. )
posted by ook at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2012

Unless it really is critical, $1300 is a lot of cash for a start up business to spend on a domain. That said, I think owning the .com is a must for any serious business or you just risk handing it over to a competitor or a linkspammer.

My experience is that it is incredibly unhelpful to have a business name or web address that is easily mistaken for another. In a past life I ran a business with quite a generic name, where all the prime domains had gone, and while it wasn't a disaster it made life overly complicated. But we did most of our initial business via humans rather than online.

If your preferred .com domain is $1300 it sounds like it contains one more more generic or high traffic words, which means you also run a risk of just competing in a big pond for generic searches in your field of business. This might appeal as a start up, but will not be great if you grow and want to differentiate.

If you are at the start point and uncommitted then it is not impossible to find a business name and a domain name that you can work with where the domains are available and not $1300. And consider your .us name as a semi-write off (you can still point it to your new domain).
posted by MuffinMan at 5:33 AM on November 12, 2012

I'd like to add that I don't expect to generate most of my business through the web-site or through internet searches (although I shouldn't discount that), the web-site is mostly to just add legitimacy to the business.
posted by saraindc at 5:47 AM on November 12, 2012

Think of a new name where the .com is available.
posted by devnull at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2012

As a consumer, site names incorporating those new two-letter domain extensions as pronounceable parts of the brand/name seem clever, rather than "late to the party". However, del.icio.us now redirects to delicious.com, so maybe I'm in the minority there...
posted by ecsh at 6:59 AM on November 12, 2012

People will typo your name with the .com. That's a given. The only real question is how often they'll do it and whether your intended audience is web-savvy enough to realise their mistake and fix it. If your business is aimed at plugged-in twentysomethings, they probably are. But the average user? I doubt it. Somebody like my mother would've never been able to use the old del.icio.us because she would've looked at that name and had no idea what to type into the address bar.

Personally, I think you'd be better off with a .net than a .us. People know .net is a top level domain.

I also feel .us looks kind of second-rate unless you're using it to make a clever word. Think about how many businesses you regularly use that have .us websites. It's probably not many.

So check out the .net, and also consider keeping your business name but adding another word and buying the .com. For example, if you work in PR, you could use namepromotions.com instead of name.com. If the business takes off you can always keep namepromotions.com and buy name.com as well to direct to it.
posted by Georgina at 4:16 PM on November 12, 2012

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