Is the .NET tld as "reputable-sounding" as a .COM for a company?
February 14, 2015 10:38 PM   Subscribe

After weeks and weeks of making lists for a name for my studio, I saw that it was not available as a .com but was as a .net, and it got me thinking: Is a .net as good as a .com or is does it sound cheap in comparison? Also, how would you rate different tlds in terms of "sounding professional"?

It would really help if you could give me a few examples of creative agencies with exclusive .net domain names.
posted by omar.a to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
To me the .net always suggests that you couldn't get the .com. Also, many people have a natural association with .com as part of a url, and that in mentioning your domain name one has to continually qualify the difference as in...

"You can access that information on our website - that's companyname dot net, not dot com"

So to me - unless your business is information networks, then it seems cheep.

I like using a TLD of a country or region that does not use net/com/mil/org/edu. We have an information management business an we use - Isle of Man

Using these TLDs lets you be a bit more creative

Here's the list
posted by mattoxic at 11:00 PM on February 14, 2015

What he said...think
posted by sexyrobot at 1:18 AM on February 15, 2015

Also some people WILL try companyname dot com anyway so make sure it's not being used for something embarrassing.
posted by DanSachs at 1:20 AM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Those of us who work in the Internet domain name industry saw this problem coming and very much tried to discourage the growth of ".COM" with alternatives such as RFC1480 (obDisclosure: some involvement), but .COM took off anyways.

It is a bit of a fool's errand to worry excessively about getting a .COM that is just what you want. For example, if you open up "Ray's Pizza", you'd love to get "" but that's taken by a restaurant in Seattle. Similarly, you can't get "" because it's taken by some pizza place in NYC.

Back in the late '90's and early '00's, it was indeed true that some people will try "companyname" dot com, and some even still do, but Harris's Lament rules the day: all the good ones are taken. Once you have added a dash or some locality initials or other permutation to "rays" or maybe "rayspizza", it is no longer worth worrying excessively about the ".COM".

The problem in .COM grew to be so bad that there has been excessive pressure to open up new TLD's such as .travel and .enterprises, which does nothing except increase the number of possible top-level domains you could register in ... it makes the problem you're worrying about even worse, because that NYC pizza place could now be "" or "" or many other things.

So, in the late '90's, people started to use these newfangled things called search engines to find what they were looking for, and these days, it is more important to be able to find you that way. Nevertheless, it is very nice to have a domain name that isn't like "" so if you have a nice .NET, by all means, take it. Alternatively, if you look through the list of available TLD's that you qualify to register under, and there's something that sounds like a match for your 2LD, by all means, take that.
posted by jgreco at 5:16 AM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

As someone who has been on this intarweb thing for a long, long time, the .NET tld used to be associated almost exclusively with ISPs or online communities. As mattoxic says, when you see a company with a .NET tld, it always looks like they couldn't get the .COM. Or, that they are trying to trick people who are actually looking for the .COM site.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:18 AM on February 15, 2015

Here are some creative agencies:
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:30 AM on February 15, 2015

Thorzdad's comment was more true about 20 years ago. Even back then, collisions in the .COM namespace created substantial pressure that eventually resulted in the opening of .NET for general registrations, and at that time, yes, sites registered in .NET as they couldn't get the .COM.

That is, of course, still true, but it is much less significant of an issue in this age because of the vast number of TLD's under which a company might now be registered, and the development of search engines which are often integrated with browsers.

It no longer matters to most people what TLD you are registered under, because most people no longer closely associate domain names and .COM. There's excessive discussion about this in the ICANN archives in support of the addition of new TLD's. There's even a ".AGENCY" TLD if you wanted to use that for your creative agency.
posted by jgreco at 5:45 AM on February 15, 2015

Data point #1: I work for a web host and the vast majority (90%+) of our .net Domains simply point to the related .com or .org address. They are rarely a given website's main Domain.

Data point #2: Like jgreco noted above, most folks do not memorize or type in Domains any more. Google is the navigational tool of choice so it it more important to make sure your site appears at the top of any directly relevant searches.

Data point #3: Did you know .pizza and .ninja are now both available? Not sure if this indicates the end of all meaning for TLDs but it sure is funny.
posted by jammy at 10:32 AM on February 15, 2015

A couple of thoughts: It's a good idea to own all three of the major tld's (.org; .net; .com) if you plan to have a significant online operation. If allows you to eliminate some confusion for folks seeking you out. You can redirect the other two not in use to the one you primarily do use. Also, owning the three major tld's prevents other entities from piggy-backing/diluting your choice of name.

I may be out of step with the times, but I've always considered .net to be about a community (including being used as an umbrella or nexus for a community that might include different domains.) Outside of that context, then .net does seem sketchy to me, as if the person using it came in second place in the race, so to speak.

posted by CincyBlues at 10:48 AM on February 15, 2015

.io is a sexy one for tech/tech-creative at the moment, it seems. You might consider that if you're doing web design or something similar.

.biz sounds awful to me and would put me off. .net is not as bad as .biz but I would expect you to be doing something network/internet-related.
posted by corvine at 10:56 AM on February 15, 2015

Here's a (dated?) article with 12 "rules" for selecting a domain name, but there are a LOT more .coms registered than anything else, so some of those rules are getting harder to follow. And there are so very many alternative TLDs, especially a ton of new generic domains, which really dilute the importance of a specific TLD.

So now you can brand your studio with the diverse TLDs in mind, working it into your brand. Dot Net does have some "second tier" status for many people, and from my point of view, some of the generic TLDs don't have the same sort of feeling, especially when you build it into your brand (as noted above: "" is a known entity, without a .com association).

One more thing: it's going to be hard to compare yourself as a new studio with an established studio that has a .NET domain, especially if they're from before the internet age.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:59 PM on February 15, 2015

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