I came across what I consider to be some slightly dated advice most recently, on a website design site, while I was doing a bit of competitive research on small business website design. It had been copied, albeit with a link, from an article on Entrepreneur.com entitled “10 things Every Small-Business Website Needs.”
The reference was a quote by Ron Wright, of Accentrix, and if he was quoted correctly, says, “I always recommend the .com domain as users are conditioned to type that extension when they enter a Web address. For non-profits or organizations, I usually recommend using a .org domain for branding purposes, but also recommend having a .com version of the domain in case a user accidentally types the .com address.”
First I checked the date on the Entrpreneur.co story. It was 2010. Not that old. Now I have no way of confirming the age of the quote but if it came from, say 1996, when I was unsuccessfully chasing a “.com” address for my business, I would be in total agreement. (I did made the other mistake pointed out in the article, I went for the “not SEO friendly” hyphenated name.)
At that time a “.com” ending was really your only viable business option. The “.net” ending existed but was a poor alternative at the time, because as Mr. Wright points out we were all typing “.com” first. For us here in Canada, the “.ca” address existed at that time but was pretty well impossible to get unless you were a government or quasi-government organization. And then you usually ended up with a provincial/federal domain of the type “site.bc.ca” depending on which province you were in. Not really a great or even doable business option.
Now I have read similar statements many times over the years. And it was pretty much ingrained as domain naming 101: A “.com” for business, a “.org” for charities. And I think many people are doing a bit too much “copy and paste” turning out their domain naming advice. Which may work a lot of the time, but I just really belief this particular idea is a bit dated.
I also came across the same advice a couple of days later on a Canadian small business advice site: You must have a “.com” address for your business. What I found very funny about this one was the advice site had a “.ca” address and when I checked they didn’t own the “.com” version. Seems a bit of the do as I say proverb to me.
And this really is the key to where I’m going with this. It is now very acceptable to run your Canadian business with a “.ca” domain name and even, I may be going out on a limb here, preferable. The “.ca” domain name is easy to obtain, and has been for several years. And while I will admit many of us are still conditioned a bit to type “.com” that is beginning to change. More and more businesses are choosing a “.ca” domain as their primary address. Yes, get the “.com” version too if it is available. For that matter get the “.net” version too.
And, more recently, in the United States, the “.us” domain is beginning to get traction. I don’t know how well it is being accepted yet. Someone located south of me needs to weight in on that, but I have registered the “.us” version of my company. Times change.
Author’s note: I originally posted this article in a different location in February 2014. I felt it was still relevant so I wanted it on the Catfish Creative feed. I did edit it ever so slightly, fixing typos, added a comma here and there in an attempt to make it clearer if not better. And a final note: I am letting my “.us” domain lapse. Just have not seen it develop. But Catfish Creative does still exist as a .ca and .net domain. Someone else has the .com…