.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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