Top-level Domains: Do they even matter?

So I’m driving through Arlington Heights the other day (on a long day of shopping for baby cribs…) and I notice a billboard for some local business. I’ll be honest – I didn’t bother to write down or make a good effort to remember what company it was for, but that part of the story is irrelevant anyways. This “story” is actually more like a rant.

The billboard in question listed the company’s website address, and the “.biz” at the end caught my attention.

This got me thinking: Who actually uses these various top-level domains?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. According to Wikipedia, top-level domains were originally organized into three main groups:

  1. Countries (.us, .ru, …)
  2. Categories (.gov, .edu, .org, …)
  3. Multiorganizations

As the internet grew, the need for more and more “categories” increased. Fast-forward to 2009. Judging by the options that GoDaddy offers me when I buy my domain names, I’d guess that there are at least 30 top-level domains I can choose from. Personally, I like the option of “Cocos Islands”.

Top Level Domain Names

Do you actually know where the Cocos Islands are? I sure didn’t. Thanks Google!

Who the hell uses these things?

I understand the power of the domain name; it is branding power at it’s best. Having keywords in your domain name can help improve your search engine optimization. Having your company name as your domain name makes it easier for your customers to find you online. A catchy or clever domain name will be remembered by your visitors.

But when you think about it, how many legitimate companies (at least in the United States) use a domain name other than “.com”. There’s a handful of “.net” domains out there. Schools will use “.edu”; government agencies will use “.gov”. Various organizations use “.org”.

But “.biz”? Really?

I don’t know, to me it just smells like something fishy. Even though I have no logical or legitimate reason to back-up my bias, I immediately don’t trust a website with “.biz” or “.me”. Sure, there’s only so many “.com” domains – but I automatically type the “.com” for a website address unless I already know it’s something like “.edu” or “.org”.

Without seeing it in the graphic above, I would think that “.ws” was a company located in another country.

“.mobi” makes logical sense to denote it’s a mobile website… but is that actually necessary? Shouldn’t the company pay a designer to create a website that’s viewable regardless of the browser?

The bottom line is that I can’t imagine legitimate companies in the United States making much use out of most top-level domains. Maybe I’m wrong. What are your thoughts?


With nearly 20 years of software engineering and operations experience, Arthur Kay offers an extraordinary set of leadership skills and technical expertise to develop meaningful products and high-performing teams. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, VC-funded startups and companies across a wide variety of industries to build cutting-edge software solutions.

Arthur is a successful entrepreneur, technology professional, and mentor. He is a full-time family man, part-time consultant and spare-time musician. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago and currently lives in greater Chicago-land.

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