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When Using a .COM is Critical


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choosecomA question that comes up very often is, “If I can’t find a great .COM domain for my authority site or main business site, should I consider a .NET or .ORG?”

It’s easy to be tempted to opt for a .NET or .ORG because there are usually more choices available. However, there are some critical points to consider before pouring your time, money and effort into building your authority or main website.

  • If you build up a site using anything but a .com, you’re going to lose up to 30% of your traffic to the .COM owner. People will type in .com by habit even if they know your site is .net or .org or .info etc. That’s why all the big players own and redirect the .com version of their domain even if they are using the alternate version as their main site (i.e. craigslist.com redirects to the main site, craigslist.org).
  • In search engine results, everything else being equal, people will click on a .com link more than any other type of domain link.
  • .COM is perceived as the authority. When people see .net, they often get the impression that you settled for second best. Depending on your target audience, .org will be perceived as a non-business site. When you hit them with a commercial website on a .org, there is a mental disconnect.
  • Other media advertising. If you ever plan on promoting your website via radio, TV, newspaper, other printed media, it’s a huge mistake to use anything but a .com (unless you also own the .com and are redirecting an alternate TLD to the .com). People will quickly and easily forget that the domain you advertised was not a .com. Most will try to visit the .com, regardless.
  • Resale or equity value: As a professional domainer, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that .COM will hold a much higher value if you ever decide to move on and sell your domain/website.

There are many more reasons, but the bottom line is, if you want to build an authority site, you must at least own the .com. Whether you’re receiving dozens, hundred or thousands of visitors a day, the inevitable traffic leak will cost you dearly in lost sales and traffic.

Some may argue that they are doing just fine with a .NET or .ORG, even a .INFO. In my opinion, if you don’t own the .COM version of your domain name, it’s kind of like living in a poorly insulated house in the Winter. You’ll be able to keep warm enough and not notice, but you’re losing a decent amount of money on your heating bill.

Personally, I will ALWAYS go with a .com when building a long term website. With enough research, you can CERTAINLY find a great .COM domain name. It’s absolutely worth the time to get it right the first time.

Please take a moment to Share! Thank you, Gene

    18 Responses to “When Using a .COM is Critical”

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    1. Bentley says:

      Awesome post, Gene! And perfect timing too – I’ve been putting together a basic website creation report, and this reminds me that I didn’t put QUITE enough emphasis on the importance of choosing .COM domain names. Will adjust accordingly! 🙂

      Thanks!

      B.

    2. Paul Forcey says:

      Some good info, if you are building a site out into any depth you dont need to worry about an emd so much which of course makes finding a .com a lot easier.

      I recently saw a case study about someone who did a website about credit scores, particularly people with a score of 650.

      He bought the domain ‘Doctor650.com” (or something similar) and he is ranking top 3 with half a dozen pages of content and 10 links back.

      • Gene says:

        Hi Paul,

        It is definitely true that ANY domain name can be ranked at the top of Google, as long as the content complies with what Google likes to see. What you build on the site is infinitely more important than the domain name itself.

        The logic above works for websites that you are pouring significant effort and time into. Long term, you can outrank others with better domain names. EMDs are better suited for quick secondary sites, when you’re trying to attract the exact keyword searchers.

    3. Robert Blake says:

      Gene,

      The insights provided in your article helped me decide whether or not to renew some non .COM domains I have up for renewal. Thanks much!

    4. Jim says:

      Gene,
      I’m an Easy Domain Cash user and a lifetime member of Domain Profits Club, now Domain Clout and I’ve been away with some health issues (the joy of being a senior citizen). I just finished watching all the D Clout videos and have a question if I may. In the videos on selling, active and passively, you are talking about domains with a value of couple of hundred dollars. What if you had one worth several thousand dollars? How would you go about selling that (aside from using escrow)? And suppose it was a very valuable domain with a broad name like Hawaii.com.? What type of user do you approach in that case?
      I await your reply Gene. Thanks…
      Jimp1
      jimpinsc@gmail.com

      ps Domain Clout looks great

      • Gene says:

        Hi Jim,

        If you have a domain worth several thousand dollars, then you simply must decide whether you want to flip it under-priced for quick cash flow, or whether you can afford to hold onto it for months or years until the perfect buyer comes around.

        If you owned a domain as significant as “Hawaii.com”, the buyers will be knocking your door down to get it. No particular “approach” is necessary.

        • Jim says:

          Gene,
          Okay, gotcha. But if you had a $3000 domain you wanted to flip, not hold, and it was generic like I quoted how would you go about it?
          Thanks again…
          Jim
          ps I love your “captcha approach” confirm you are NOT a spammer. Brilliant!!

    5. Rick says:

      Gene,
      Thanks for the blog post. All your points are excellent. It’s often tempting to use one of the others because of availability, but you make valid points for not doing so.
      Thanks,
      Rick

    6. Michael says:

      Yes, I have heard this many times, and your reasons are absolutely sound. However, this assumes that people only reach websites by manually typing them out-more often than not they click on a link, from an email or web document. An authority blog based on a personal name could perform with a .ME, .net or .org -these domain extensions exist for a reason and are widely used. I think the .com prejudice is a hangover from the early days online when mainly .Com domains proliferated, and were associated with commercial companies. I defer to your experience and knowledge, but domain extensions other-than .com can be successful, and seem to be being used increasingly-I think if you did a survey of domain extensions currently in use you would be surprised at what was working for people.

      • Gene says:

        Hi Michael,

        I didn’t mean to imply at all that other TLDs weren’t effective. I can point to VERY successful sites using each type of TLD. The point is, if you’re building a long-term authority or money site, you MUST own the matching .COM even if you are using an alternate TLD for the main content. Even if the majority of your visits are not from directly typing in, the more successful your site becomes, the bigger traffic/money LEAK you’ll have.

    7. Gene,

      I agree with you on the .com extension. I once had a nice 3 letter .us, .org, .info, etc. all with the same first part of the name. I didn’t have the dot com version, however, and noticed I got almost no traffic on any of my domains, whereas the .com version that someone else had was a pr 5 I believe. I ended up letting all four of my non .com names expire. They weren’t worth keeping. After that experience I never registered anything but .com/

      I also like the Confirm you are not a spammer. For some reason some my sites I care about won’t accept a captcha and naturally I get a ridiculous amount of spam.

      Charles

    8. Russ says:

      Hey Gene,

      I’m bummed that I dragged my feet and missed out on the launch of Domain Clout.

      Great article. It validates what I’ve learned over the years. And how I personally feel about TLDs other than dot com.

      I’m curious about your views on using a dot org domain for commercial purposes, though.

      I have long been under the impression that dot orgs are designated by the FTC to be used for non-commercial purposes, like with non-profits. Craigslist is an excellent example.

      But I know that lots of folks are building out sites with dot orgs, especially with Amazon and EMDs. Is the FTC thing a myth, or are they just slow to crack down?

      • Gene says:

        Hi Russ,

        .ORG domains are not regulated in any way as far as I know. People perceive them to be for non-profit organizations or other non-commercial groups, but that is not the reality. There is nothing to “crack down” on. You are free to use a .ORG for any type of website, commercial or not. By the way, Craigslist is not a non-profit. They use the free listings to generate interest and massive traffic, and they profit from the paid listings.

        see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.org

        • Yeah, I noticed that on USA domains.

          Unfortunately, not so in Australia.
          When I bought a few bloody good keywords domains as keyword.org.au I was able to register it and then got a note from some Aussie watchdog to prove I was a non-commercial/charitable organization.

          So in the end I had to cancel them and get money back 🙁

    9. Will Irish says:

      100% agree. I will admit that I was once one of those that would argue how well my .org or .net would be ranking (outranking .com competitors) and to your point, that is not all the argument. By nature of perception, typo, and default web mindset, do all possible to secure a .com to capitalize on the internet behaviors.

      Thanks Gene.

      Will

    10. Hi Gene,

      You just proved that you are not just a pretty face.

      I’ve seen many articles why (only) “.Com”, but none have explained it in 5 bullet points so clearly.

      The First and the Last point really bring the message home.
      Brilliant!

      Cheers
      AlanSele
      P.S. Mind you, I still would not mind to get hawaii.net for $10 🙂

    11. T Willis says:

      What’s your opinion about hyphens?

      • Gene says:

        Hyphens have no place in domain names you’re trying to sell (as a raw domain name with no other benefits).

        Yes, you can build up a website on a hyphenated domain name, rank it well, etc., but when you’re registering domains with the intent to sell “as is”, hyphenated domains bomb.

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