.com versus .net

December 12, 2007 · Print This Article

Ray has done an interesting post on whether a business on a limited budget should get a category killer .net domain name or a more modest .com. While he states that it’s in the individual business’ choice, he does lean heavily towards the .com.

Some of the factors Ray recommends considering are:

1. Traffic leakage to .com from the .net (which may be owned by a competitor)

2. The availability of decent .com’s for under $10,000, which is a small amount in terms of marketing costs.

3. The fact that the “so-so” domains of today will likely be the sought after domains of tomorrow.

I think that the empirical evidence shows that Ray is right – end users do prefer to use a “so-so” .com rather than a spectacular .net.

I’m not sure that’s always the best thing to do. For instance, for one website I developed, I wanted a particular term. I wanted this because the term defined the category itself and also had the highest overture by far of any keyword in the category.

I contacted the owner of the .com, and did not receive a response. So, I contacted the owner of the .net, and the asking price was mid-$xx,xxx. I then contacted the owner of the .org, and negotiated a mid-$xxx purchase. In less than a month, the site was ranking on the first page of Google for the main keyword of the category, simply because the domain exactly matched the keyword.

I’m sure I could have gotten a different .com for mid-$xxx. But it would have been a longer, more awkward term and probably wouldn’t have ranked as well.

I also wonder if the focus on .com’s that all the major domainers have means that .net’s and .org’s are underpriced in today’s market. I really don’t have an answer for that one.

All that being said, as a domainer, you have to go with what people actually do, not what you think they should do. The empirical evidence is as Ray suggests, people choose .com. You can’t go wrong with this.

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4 Responses to “.com versus .net”

  1. Sammy Ashouri on December 12th, 2007 1:16 pm

    The whole .com vs .net debate has been going on for a while now. I DO prefer .com, but I believe other extensions work as well. I have picked up .nets and would rather use those than longer .com domains for some reason. In the end it depends on what I’m focussed on. Also, I’ve invested in Middle East targeted domains. For those, I’ve picked up very good .nets since while I was there, I saw that they actually DO use .net more often. I actually witnessed people typing in google.net instead of google.com. Weird, but whatever works :). Awesome post. I say if you can get a great deal on another extension, go for it.

  2. admin on December 12th, 2007 10:10 pm

    @Sammy – thanks for your input. Really intersting re the Middle East. Will need to see if I can do a research trip there 🙂

  3. Rob Sequin on December 14th, 2007 8:17 am

    The more successful your .net site is, the more valuable you make the .com. Therefore if you are ever really successful (something everyone works for) and have the money to buy the .com, the .com owner now thanks you for developing in the space and appreciates all the traffic bleed from people going to your site and there’s nothing you can do about it except to write a bigger check, if the domain is even for sale.

  4. admin on December 14th, 2007 1:42 pm

    Very good point Rob!