So you’re looking to start a company. What do you call it? Once you’ve figured that out, which domain suffix do you choose? .com, .net, .biz, .monster, .duck, .theworldisyouroyster? Given the explosion in domain suffix permutations I wondered if startups' behavior had changed over the last decade.
In fact, it has changed significantly as the chart above shows. Click to enlarge the image.
Dotcoms dwarf other domain choices in demand but their dominance has diminished as the days pass. Down from 89% in 2007, the .com designation adorns the addresses of 64% of startups founded in 2020. Dotcoms are more dear because they are the default domain suffix most users type when dropping by a website. (alliteration)
.co isn’t far behind dotcom. And why not do without an extra letter? A keystroke saved is a keystroke you’ll have to delete after the iPhone’s autocomplete vehememently insists on adding the “missing” m when you type the address into Safari. (antithesis)
Today, the .net suffix’s popularity is withering away. Down more than 75% in share over the last 20 years, the .net harkens a bygone era of the internet, when hipsters called it the ‘Net. A .net domain evokes wistful memories of Earthlink and Sourceforge. It’s not the best choice for today. (epanalepsis)
.ai means a startup is all about the future. .AI connotes a company that uses machines to model, classify, synthesize, or process natural language. If you employ any of these four techniques, this suffix is for you. (merism)
What does that mean about startups ending in .io, which have risen to the top 5 in the last 5 years? Based in the Indian Ocean? Or perhaps the third largest moon of Jupiter and most volcanically active planet in the solar system? More prosaically, maybe the company offers a product managing inputs and outputs. Smells like the future. (synesthesia)
Zoom is likely the most well recognized startup with a .us domain. It’s a great choice for those who pride themselves on an easy domain to type and patriotism. (syllepsis)
My theories about .xyz are yet unformed…(aposiopesis)
.gg is for gaming companies. It probably means “good game.” As a SaaS investor, these businesses aren’t in my bailiwick, but since .gg is the official suffix of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, if you’re a live streamer based in the Channel Islands, the .gg suffix certainly is in yours. (polyptoton)
The .ly suffix transformed every company into an adverb and it had it’s time in the sun. Appearing suddenly in 2010, it promptly disappeared - confoundingly abruptly and surprisingly unexpectedly - in 2015 - albeit, justly in my view. (killing Hemingway softly).
Aside from highlighting some of the trends in startup domain name preferences, this post has another motivation. Each of the paragraphs above uses a different rhetorical device and it’s meant to be read as a playground of words.
I read the excellent The Elements of Eloquence which enumerates more than thirty different techniques for improving writing, tools Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, and other greats employed, and I was trying a few out. The names of these techniques follow each paragraph in parentheses.
If you’re curious about language, I highly recommend it. I wish I’d learned some of these in grade school. They would have punched up my term papers.
PS. the one about Hemingway is my contribution. He abhorred the adverb!