Domain trends can hurt your business. Especially if you choose .io over the traditional .com domain. This also holds true for .co, .net, and so on.
Let’s not forget the sizable advantage a business has with a .com domain. Why is all this domain discussion so important? The trust factor, as well as memorability.
This may not come as much of a surprise, but a .com TLD (Top Level Domain) still has the highest trust rating.
The .com B2C or B2B business domain name also has a higher memorability percentage.
When compared to a .io domain, the .com gives a business the ultimate edge. For instance, a .com was far more memorable (44 percent more memorable) than any other domain designation.
And when it comes to trust, there is little to compare.
Just put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Are you more willing to give your credit card information on a .com website or a .io site?
The bottom line is that a .com TLD is the most trusted and most memorable. Trust us – we do everything from helping clients buy a domain, sell a domain, manage their portfolio and brand their business – this is important information to know.
Why is this a business problem I need to understand?
This is a good question. And understanding more about the .com versus .io issue can save your company hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Not to mention the headache of changing your .io to a .com TLD down the road.
Why should you take my advice? Well, our company saw.com continually helps companies large and small upgrade domains. And these companies will tell you, don’t be website domain trendy.
Let’s say you and your developer buddy came up with a killer tech product and brought it to market. Need a website right? Naturally being devs you went with a .io TLD.
Makes total sense to you and your cofounder, since .io is a developer-savvy way of imprinting those ones and zeros. Clever and creative? Definitely. Worth it in respect to marketing and search engine optimization (SEO)? Unfortunately no.
So what gives?
The first problem a .io brings about is that a .io TLD is actually not a TLD at all. This domain designation is a CCTLD, or more commonly known as a country code top-level domain.
And what does a .io CCTLD represent? The Indian Ocean. This means that it falls under a country or territory.
It would be like a .ca CCTLD, which is the country or territory designation for Canada.
So let’s say your tech business’ domain is foodiedelivery.io and you’re just starting to gain traction in your market. That certainly takes a lot of hard work, determination, and marketing dollars.
But just as you’re about to lease that trendy office space in Austin, Texas to go with that trendy CCTLD, your website goes down.
And as much as you call your preferred registrar, you simply can’t get answers or get your site back up and running.
Well, the country or territory (in this case Indian Ocean) that has the .io designation changed up the rules and regulations. Your .io ownership is lost forever. And there is nothing you can do about it.
This is of course pretty extreme, but it can happen. Let’s take a look at another, very common problem that happens to a ton of businesses that went the trendy domain route.
How much are you willing to pay for your .com TLD?
This is an important question, because you may need to pay tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands to get your business’ .com TLD down the road.
How much are you willing to pay for your business’ .com top-level domain name?
Let’s say your tech-savvy business foodiedelivery.io has really taken off. The Indian Ocean country/territory rules and regulations are intact, and the company just received $10 million in funding from an angel investor.
This is your big moment. The public trading daydream you and your cofounder had since day one may actually be coming true in the not-so-different future.
Part of the next stages of growth does mean the business must protect branding right? So all you need to do is start buying up foodiedelivery.net, foodiedelivery.co, etc. And of course, switch up your business domain to foodiedelivery.com.
No problem. With a few keystrokes on your domain provider of choice and you will be good to go.
Not so fast. You quickly find out that some guy with a food truck in Mobile, Alabama had the same idea as you and your cofounder a few years ago and purchased foodiedelivery.com.
This means that your business’ .com domain name is taken.
And what’s worse is that the food truck guy held onto the domain after his business went under due to COVID food restrictions.
Not such a big deal right?
Not until you contact the owner of foodiedelivery.com and ask to purchase the domain, only to find out he wants $2 million for it. Seems like an outrageous price tag for a domain you think.
After all, you can normally get a .com TLD for nothing or a few hundred dollars.
Well, that may be true if the food truck guy didn’t find your $10 million funding press release online. His failed food truck business and previously useless domain just became the best investment ever.
That trendy, techie .io domain choice just became your business’ biggest problem. Try explaining to your new investor that $2 million of that funding will disappear right from the get-go.
Not going to be a good conversation, that is for sure. As a domain brokerage service provider, we’ve directly heard this issue brought up time and time again by startups.
You could lose your business branding altogether without getting a .com TLD from the start
This is the other major business problem you can run into by not getting a .com TLD from the start. How can you lose your branding if you are a successful business?
The owner of the .com TLD may have had an established business with your business name longer.
Using our foodiedelivery.com example, let’s say that you are absolutely against paying the food truck foodiedelivery.com guy what he wants for the .com TLD. After all, it is way too much money.
So instead you and your cofounder go the legal route and threaten a lawsuit. Seems pretty cut and dry right? Wrong again.
Since the food truck owner established his business years before you started the tech company utilizing the trendy .io CCTLD, he has more legal rights.
Now you will be really kicking yourself because after talking to a lawyer, the food truck owner found out that your business name has infringed on his company’s trademark and name.
This is the moment when you may lose all your business branding.
In fact, the food truck owner could take serious legal action against your business. And this is all because you chose a harmless .io over a .com from day one.
And it doesn’t matter how big your company is. If you’re not familiar with the Nissan.com lawsuit, you should get up to speed quickly if you have a .io CCTLD and not a .com TLD for your business.
Did you know that Nissan.com is actually owned by Uzi Nissan and is operated under the name Nissan Computer?
This is all true, so strap yourselves in for this one. Nissan.com is not the website domain for the Nissan Motor Company.
If you type Nissan.com into your Google search bar, you’ll get different results than what you would expect.
That’s right, Nissan Motor Company has no rights to nissan.com or nissan.net. Google Nissan Motor Company and you will see the .com TLD dance they have to do.
How in the world did this happen? Well, before Nissan Motor Company was the Nissan globally known for automobiles, it was Datsun.
Naturally, when Nissan Motor Company became Nissan, they wanted Nissan.com to bolster the brand online.
What they didn’t expect was Uzi Nissan and Nissan.com already well-established online and as the Nissan Computer company.
What did Nissan Motor Company do? They sued Uzi Nissan and Nissan Computers for trademark infringement and a ton of other legal phrases. Did Nissan Motor Company win the lawsuit?
They most definitely did not win.
Can you believe it? A powerful global company like Nissan Motor Company could not win the lawsuit. How? They had no legal leg to stand on.
Uzi Nissan and Nissan Computer Corporation had been in operation as a business and as a .com TLD long before Nissan the car company entered the arena.
Don’t be website domain trendy!
On the long-established Nissan.com website is a message. “It can happen to you or someone you know.” This is a warning worth taking to heart as a business owner.
Is it fun and techie of you to launch your technology company or app as a .io? It is, and you can certainly do as you wish for your business.
However, be aware of the issues that may arise down the road. I have seen it time and time again as a professional marketer, SEO, and domain provider. If you want to register as a .io CCTLD from the beginning, be sure to follow a few rules.
The first rule of .io domains is don’t talk about funding. The second rule of .io domains is don’t talk about funding. And the third rule of .io domains is don’t start with a .io CCTLD.
Just get a .com TLD for your business from the get-go. Regardless of whether you utilize it for your B2C or B2B-facing domain online or not.
There are simply too many problems that can arise for your business down the road. Like anything in business, be forward-thinking.