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Head to Head Series: Dot-com vs Dot-net

It’s time for another series face-off. This time, it is dot-com versus dot-net. Is there a difference? Before we start, it’s important to assess the nitty gritty details of domains.

Choosing a Top Level Domain

Choosing a domain name is likely one of the first steps in creating a website for a business or personal use. Domains are important as they are considered the backbone of the internet, allowing users to access and navigate around different websites. More importantly, all domains end with a string of letters that is known as the Top Level Domain (TLD). A TLD usually signifies the purpose and intent of the website and allows classification into popular categories such as dot-com, dot-edu and dot-gov. Dot-com is the most popular TLD and it originated from the word “Commerce” to signify a business that operates through the internet. Dot-edu and dot-gov require special authorization as they are intended to be used for education and government purposes. Other popular domains that are open to the public include dot-net, dot-co, and dot-biz. So which TLD should you pick for your business?

Dot-com benefits/disadvantages:

  • Domain familiarity and trust – Unless you live under a rock, or perhaps were frozen in time and reincarnated post dot-com boom, you are very aware of dot-com websites. Because of this, viewers are more often than not willing to trust a dot-com website over say, a dot-digital.
  • Marketing potential – Because dot-com is the default domain, the familiarity and trust as aforementioned definitely will give you a leg up when it comes to your customer base. The fact of the matter is, a dot-com website is more likely to get a click than a dot-digital website.
  • Tarnished reputation – Given that there are many dot-com websites out there, the domain you may desire might have already earned itself an infamous reputation. If your website has been used in the past negatively, chances are it will be blacklisted on other websites. Be sure to check the archives.

Dot-net benefits/disadvantages:

  • Domain availability – There appears to be an infinite abyss of different websites out there on the world wide web. Chances are, a lot of the dot-com websites are taken. Luckily, picking a domain such as dot-net is still not as common. Thus, providing you with ample more potential to get that perfect domain name.
  • Less recognized – If a potential user who knows your business name but doesn’t know your site, they are more likely to input dot-com after your business name than dot-net. This could lead to sending traffic to a non-existent page or a completely different site.

Cover All Bases

If you are having difficulty deciding on one or the other, consider buying both variations of dot-com and dot-net for your business. This is common practice for big brands to ensure they direct all relevant traffic to their website and to eliminate the potential of users going to the wrong site.

Verdict

Ultimately, if you want to create a website for your business, we recommend utilizing dot-com as it has become the standard in today’s world. The trust and familiarity built around dot-com will likely never be overtaken by dot-net. You should only consider dot-net if a certain domain name is only available with a dot-net TLD and it is a name that works best for your use.

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