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Ready or not, the “Not-Com” Revolution is here — and so are the questions that come with it.
Scroll down for answers to 14 of the most common questions, and discover why the next generation of forward-thinking businesses and individuals are seizing this new way to digitally define their brands.
What is a not-com?
Simply put: A not-com is a domain extension that does not end in ‘dot-com’ (.com).
Now there are a variety of options joining ‘dot-com’ (.com) and ‘dot-org’ (.org) — two status quo extensions that have been around for some thirty years.
Nearly 1,000 new options have been made available in the last few years. They range from the professional (.agency) to the industry-specific (.photography) to trendy (.style) to international (.world) to fun (.guru).
For a list of new domain extensions, click here and scroll down.
How long have not-com domains been around?
The newest batch of not-com extensions first launched to the general public in early 2014. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet’s internal governing board, has been overseeing this roll-out.
Why do we need not-coms?
If you’ve tried to register a ‘dot-com’ domain recently, you understand the frustration. It’s hard to find a good domain name that isn’t already taken — or being held hostage by an investor looking to fetch a premium price from the highest bidder.
It was time to expand the Internet geography, so to speak. Especially as more and more startups and personal brands are coming online. Pretty much everyone needs a website nowadays, and the digital city called ‘dot-com’ has gotten crowded. So new digital cities have been created to support Internet growth.
What’s the value of having a not-com domain?
They are meaningful. Not-com domain names allow businesses and individuals the ability to be descriptive before and after the dot. Now your domain name can capture your brand perfectly. For instance, Fathom.clothing and Upshot.agency are each inherently more meaningful given their respective not-com extensions. You immediately recognize that Fathom is a clothing company and Upshot is an agency.
They are memorable. More than fifty percent of consumers think new domain names in meaningful combinations will be easier to remember, according to the Domain Name Association. Descriptive names are easier to remember, and not-com extensions provide a unique ability to story-tell in a few words. For instance, read these two examples: Soul.camp and FatBaby.photography. Memorable, right?
They are available. Many of us have had the disheartening experience of searching for a ‘dot-com’ domain name, only to find it unavailable. Not-com extensions provide virgin snow in domain name creation. With hundreds of not-com options now available, and the opportunity still relatively new, the probability of getting your first-choice not-com URL is high.
Will having a not-com website affect my search ranking in Google?
No. Google has gone on the record saying: “new domain endings are not treated any differently than traditional domain name endings such as .com or .org. Domain names with new endings are shown in search just like any other domain name.”
Keep in mind, being “found” online isn’t pegged to your domain name alone. It’s part of a bigger SEO (a.k.a. search engine optimization) that puts tremendous value on website content, page load times and longevity. Be smart and strategic with how you build, support and optimize your website, and visitors will come.
Won’t not-com domains confuse people?
As this expanded naming convention evolves into the new normal, there will inevitably be some bumps in the road. But the same holds true with anything that’s new. Adjusting to the new can take a little time.
Alternatives to ‘dot-com’ have been around for many years, such as ‘dot-net’ (.net), ‘dot-info’ (.info) and even country code domains (.me, .ly, .io). So this is just a natural evolution that allows you to extremely specific about who you are and your line of business. For instance, it’s pretty obvious what URLs ending in ‘dot-photography’ (.photography), ‘dot-clothing’ (.clothing) and ‘dot-marketing’ (.marketing) are all about.
Not-coms are inherently simple for even the least tech-savvy Internet user. For many businesses adopting the not-com domain, it’s actually enhanced the memorability of their businesses.
Who is using not-com domains?
That’s why Name.Kitchen was created: to highlight the stories and digital naming creativity of businesses and individuals getting in on the ground floor of this digital renaissance. Click around and explore!
Everyone from tech startups (Chroma.fund, Lily.camera) to fashion designers (TheWrap.life,Staud.clothing) to marketing agencies (Upshot.agency, redpepper.land) to bloggers (BeingaMom.life) are joining the movement.
We’ve even seen established businesses making the switch to a not-com domain to rejuvenate their brands and connect with a new audience.
Celebrities and professional athletes are also embracing not-com domains for their respective brands and causes. Some examples include:
— Kanye West promotes his fashion line on Yeezy.supply.
— Lady Gaga’s non-profit is on BornThisWay.foundation.
— Pro golfer and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett is at DannyWillett.golf.
— Social media sensation Michelle Phan is building her global brand on Icon.network.
— Retired international soccer phenom Ronaldo launched Ronaldo.academy.
— Pop superstar Demi Lovato directs her fans to Lovato.club.
Plus, a handful of big brands have secured their very own branded domains. (These are not-com extensions that are only usable by the businesses that own them.) Examples include BMW (.bmw), Marriott (.marriott), Barclay’s (.barclays) and Google (.google).
What’s the difference between not-coms and some of the two-letter domain endings out there (.me, .ly, .co)?
Those are country code extensions. You’re probably familiar with the ones for these English-speaking countries: ‘dot-ca’ (.ca) for Canada; ‘dot-co-uk’ (.co.uk) for the United Kingdom; ‘dot-au’ (.au) for Australia; and ‘dot-us’ (.us) for the United States.
While the original intent was that they’d be used by businesses and brands that wanted to establish their digital presence as based in a specific country, some of these extensions have been made available to those outside the respective country of origin. As a result, we saw a creative adoption of some of these domains by startups within the past decade: Bit.ly using the country code for Lybia (.ly); Twitch.tv using the country code for Tuvalu (.tv); and web development businesses and independent coders flocking to the country code for the British Indian Ocean Territory (.io).
This creative application also spoke to the need for new options. But buyer beware when it comes to country code extensions: Many do not have contracts with ICANN (the organization that regulates Internet naming), so they are not beholden to operate under industry standards. For example, the government of Libya can “pull the plug” on your .ly domain at any time.
New not-com extensions, however, do have contracts with ICANN; therefore, stringent security and stability obligations are in place to protect consumers who own not-com domains.
Why should a business with an existing ‘dot-com’ (.com) website consider a not-com?
There are three main reasons why a company with an existing ‘dot-com’ domain name would consider a not-com:
1. Some domain names are lengthy and cumbersome. It might be time for a domain facelift.
2. You might want to increase SEO (search engine optimization) by buying around your domain name. For example, if you’re a clothing brand and you own your ‘dot-com,’ you might also purchase ‘dot-clothing’ (.clothing), ‘dot-shoes’ (.shoes) and ‘dot-boutique’ (.boutique) to drive more traffic.
3. You can also use not-com names to create micro-sites or promotional sites to complement your primary website.
I’d like to shift my existing website to a not-com domain. How can I do that without losing SEO or confusing people?
The concern here is understandable: You’ve built a website, built a following, built up SEO credibility. You don’t want to rock that. But migrating to a not-com domain as your main website needn’t rock a thing if you follow several steps (see link below) and set up what’s known as a “redirect” from your existing ‘dot-com’ or ‘dot-net’ domain to your new, not-com domain. This basically means that even if someone types in your old website domain, they’ll be redirected to yournew not-com “address.” Think of it similar to forwarding mail.
Won’t switching to a not-com domain hurt word-of-mouth referrals?
A not-com domain can help word of mouth referrals because the names are more meaningful and descriptive — so they’re easier to remember. If your business has a long and cumbersome domain name, people won’t remember it. But if your domain name describes exactly who you are and what you do, your word of mouth marketing could improve.
Not to mention, in the age of online media and social networking, “word of mouth” has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s more like “Tweet of mouth” or “Facebook post of mouth.” A short and snappy URL really pops in these social platforms.
Some website forms don’t recognize not-com domains and email addresses. Why is this?
As with anything new, there is an adjustment period. There are initiatives in place within the industry that are identifying and resolving issues associated with not-com domains and corresponding email addresses. The goal is for all domain name endings to function equally.
How do we know that not-coms aren’t just a passing trend?
The not-com space is quickly growing in popularity, with new registrations recently surging past 17 million. Currently, that’s one registered every 10 seconds. Not-coms are on track to becoming the new normal.
Plus, big companies and brands are spearheading the not-com movement. Google, Amazon and Booking.com are all invested, with Google purchasing the ‘dot-app’ (.app) domain for $26 million in 2015 and Amazon following suit with ‘dot-buy’ (.buy) the same year for $4.6 million. When Google and Amazon see a future in this, that’s a very good sign.
Where can I get a not-com domain?
Click here to explore not-com choice. A dedicated search bar will even take you to third-party sites such as Google Domains and GoDaddy to purchase your perfect domain name — and be a part of one of the hottest, here-to-stay trends in technology.