A quality domain name is essential for branding and promoting your key projects. I registered my first domain name in 2000. Even back then, finding the right domain name for a project was a difficult task.
Finding a good brandable keyword in a domain name has become easier over the last few years has become easier due to the number of domain extensions available. The last time I checked, there are close to one million domain extensions available online. OK…perhaps that's a slight exaggeration…but it does feel like that. The flavour of the month is .CO. It is the top level domain for Colombia, however since 2010, anyone can register a .co domain.
Domain registrars are pushing .co domains to customers as an alternative to .COM. It has been adopted by many large companies as a way for shortening URL's. For example, Google uses g.co to shorten links. Despite my love for Colombia, I am not a big fan of the .CO domain extension as it is too similar to .COM. And from a branding point of view, .COM is still the best. Plus I believe that there is a real chance of internet users seeing the .CO extension as a URL shortening domain, rather than a destination.
Finding the right domain name can be a frustrating process. I have been reminded of this recently as I have been searching for the right domain name for an upcoming project. The problem is that:
- Every variation of a keyword is taken.
- 99% of the domains that are registered are not used as websites. They were purchased for resale.
- Sellers normally price domains unrealistically high.
- Many domain sellers do not respond to email queries about purchasing the domain.
Another problem is time. It is easy to spend days or even weeks searching for the right domain. Despite knowing the importance of a good domain name for a project you are going to invest in, I always feel like that my time could be better spent doing something else.
I have been using domain tools such as DomainsBot to make searching for domains easier. I have also been looking at different keywords using a thesaurus. There is a temptation for me to register an average domain at the moment and then rebrand later, however that is just creating unnecessary work for myself at a later date. It is better to get these things right from the start.
I don't want to delve too much into what my project is. Despite not liking the .CO domain extension too much, the best domains I have found use that extension. Just my luck. If I cannot find a good brandable domain for my new project, I may end up doing a u-turn on .CO domains and embrace them with all my heart (Sam Sinton believes they are the best domain extension after .COM).
What has your experience been with registering domain names over the last two years?