I just published an article for The Industry Standard – The allure of the .com domain name. The article deals with the reasons that the .com top-level domain has become by far the most popular in the world.
To see just how big a lead .com has over its closest competitors, check out this chart. The chart shows the top 6 TLDs and the percentages when compared against each other, not the percetages when compared against the total of all TLDs. (The data comes from here.)
As part of the research for this article, I posted a question to the Targeted Traffic Forum, which I am lucky enough to be a part of. This site, which was founded by Rick Schwartz, has the best domain-related conversations of any that I have ever seen on the Web, and the people who hang out in this forum have really great insight into the domain name industry.
The question I posted was this:
I am working on an article about how the .com extension has maintained the highest value and allure compared to other top-level domains. I’m curious if anyone has interesting thoughts or theories as to why .com is so much more valuable.
I got some really great responses, and I wanted to include some of them here.
95% of the largest brands in the world and their sub-brands advertise .COM domains every day on TV, Billboards, Radio, in Print, and Online. Here are the top 10…
Company | 2007 Ad Spend
proctorandgamble.COM (et. al.) | $3.4 Billion
att.COM | $2.3 Billion
verizon.COM | $2.1 Billion
generalmotors.COM (et. al.) | $2.1 Billion
timewarner.COM | $1.7 Billion
fordmotors.COM (et. al.) | $1.6 Billion
waltdisney.COM (et. al.) | $1.3 Billion
johnsonandjohnson.COM (et. al.) | $1.3 Billion
sprint.COM | $1.3 Billion
newscorp.COM (et. al.) | $1.3 Billion
Total for just the top ten advertisers in the US | $18.6 Billion
There are 18.6 billion reasons that .COM is the most recognized Tld on the planet (benefiting all .COM owners in the world) and this doesn’t include the long tail which is a larger piece.
The biggest advertisers in the world advertise .COM domains. Dot.COM is burned into our collective consciousness every hour of every day. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve seen the arguement go around many times – and the explanation that seems to fit best to me was always the “implied” restrictions on .net (As Networks etc ..) and on .org (Non-profit and various Organizations).
Somewhat philosophical, but this is similar to how language itself develops. The words we use for most things are arbitrary, if a “rose” had been called an “esor” then, by convention, it becomes a standard. If “Blog” had been called “Webiary” (web diary) we’d all be using that term. It doesn’t matter *what* the term is, but once it is established it takes generations to change it. You can’t just suddenly declare that a “blog” is now known as a “webiary” and everyone falls in line. This is where .COM is, imho.
I think also, if you asked the majority you will find their favorite website is a .com. Allot of us visit .com for daily activities. The .com is synonymous with the internet, for instance you can ask people if they have gone to your myspace page and you don’t have to say myspace.com. Also, have you googled it, again, no mention of google.com, just google. Ebay.org, nahhh, that even sounds funny. You can type in google.net and it redirects to the .com. The .com is the internet.
How about your favorite news site, car site, travel site, search site, etc….. Dot com is the gold standard. Name an interest or hobby and I can name a .com website for you but I cannot name a .net or .rw .or .ps, or .tv etc…
Will it change? Possibly but it took a generation to learn, it will take a generation to change.
What do you think?
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