Starting a business without the .com version of your name is a recipe for failure.
I belong to an Austin business email list. It’s a lively list as people ask for referrals for CPAs, which webhosting company is best, and for advice about growing a business. Today someone inquired about buying a domain name. Being an expert on the subject I chimed in. Other people gave their two cents as well, and some of the advice was misguided. Because the .com version of this person’s business was taken, some people suggested registering the .net version.
“I think you’d be fine if you acquired the other domain names and focused on the .net – though that top level domain was originally intended for network operators, it’s commonly used as an alternative when the .com isn’t available”
If you want to send customers that are looking for you to your competitor, go right ahead. If you want confidential e-mail communication intended for you to end up in someone else’s inbox, go right ahead. But if you count on your web site for any of your referrals or business communications, don’t even think about using a .net for your business.
When registering a domain, consider if your “lowest common denominator” will get it right. Matt at DomainBinge, a new domain blog, had an insightful post about this the other day (republished with permission):
.BIZ domain fails the sister test
Here’s an interesting domain anecdote from the weekend.
My wife had referred a business contact to my sister last week. Over the weekend, my sister was at the house talking to my wife about the referral.
“I sent her two e-mailsâ€¦but both came back as undeliverable.â€
So my wife pulled up the contact’s business card, looked it over and noticed that her e-mail address included the .biz gTLD. She pointed that out to my sister:
“Did you use .biz or .com?â€
My sister’s response was precious:
“What the heck is .biz?â€
I snickered a bit under my breathâ€¦and duly noted the experience. My sister is ANYTHING BUT tech savvy, but I think she represents that typical web and e-mail user quite well.
Her follow-up reaction was even better:
“Why would she [the contact] use .biz and not .com?â€
My thought – which I didn’t share – was “because she couldn’t afford to buy the .com.â€