By Gary Hotze
The Internet is on the verge of waking up from a .com trance. The status quo domain structure that we’ve grown to expect is losing its creative mojo. Mainly, because all of the clever .com domains have already been taken, or will cost you major moolah.
But here’s the big awakening: Domains no longer have to end in ‘dot-com’ (.com), ‘dot-net’ (.net) or ‘dot-org’ (.org). To borrow from Willy Wonka, it’s a domain world of pure imagination.
Just take one look at your social media feeds. It’s been happening in 140-character tweets and Facebook posts, and it’s the big brands leading the way.
For instance, TIME magazine has been sharing insightful pieces with the domain Ti.me, which redirects to their main site Time.com. Ti.me is a clever use of ‘dot-me’ (.me), the country code for Montenegro, which is open for anyone, regardless of geographical location, to use.
Furthermore, Taco Bell has been sharing spicy posts with the domain Ta.co. The ‘dot-co’ (.co) option is the country code extension for Colombia, another one that is open for anyone to use. Ta.co redirects to its main site TacoBell.com. Ta.co, however, is much shorter and more eye-catching for the social media world.
Wait, wait, there's more ...
The recent rollout of “not-com” domain options provide additional colors in the domain palate with which to design memorable domains.
There are literally hundreds of new options to the right of the dot, from ‘dot-agency’ (.agency), ‘dot-boutique’ (.boutique) to ‘dot-camera’ (.camera). Click here for some new options that can color your URL memorable and tell an immediate story about your business or brand.
What's more, these new options even allow you to craft entire phrases that straddle the “dot," similar to how TIME and Taco Bell have creatively used country code domain extensions to form entire words.
This domain naming innovation, according to one branding expert, can put businesses at the top of the list when it comes to being memorable with prospective customers and clients.
“If a phrase is easy to say and spell, it can be as memorable -- or more memorable -- than single-word names,” says Margaret Wolfson, founder and creative director at River + Wolf, a verbal and visual branding firm based in New York City. She adds that this remains true for domain names and recommends using the final word of the phrase in place of the ‘dot-com’ (.com), when and if available.
See Related: Claim Your Domain - A List of "Not-Com" Extensions
“Two excellent examples of three-word phrase names using a not-com approach include electricfor.life and mapyour.city,” Wolfson says. “Using the last word makes the name kinder on typing fingers, an important factor to consider in today's world of digital media. Personally, I would rather type electricfor.life than electricforlife.com.”
Here are a few other examples of this trend across the Internet (all legitimate websites):
What's more, they add up to a fun little digital story:
Just as with any good story, it just takes some narrative finesse and punctuation to dream up the perfect phrase-as-a-domain for your business or personal brand.
One way to achieve this: become familiar with the newest domain extension options to see which might prove a great final word in your ideal phrase.
And if you conjure up a brilliant phrase for your domain name and begin using it in your own advertising, please drop us a line -- we'd love to feature you.