Top-Level Domain Survey (or what to do when your .com is taken)

Recently I setup a survey at SurveyMonkey trying to gauge people’s feelings and impressions on the top-level domains such as .com, .net., .biz and so on. I purposefully left off .gov and .edu top-level domains because you’re not supposed to be able to get them as a small business.

I thought I’d share this completely unscientific survey with you:

Question 1: Imagine you visit a new site. Please rank the following top-level domains on the overall impression they give you of the site and company. (One answer per domain, please.)

There weren’t any surprises in the answers. Like a diagonal line through the chart, respondents ordered the domains as .com, .org, .net, .biz, .info, .name and .[any country]. The .[any country] result represented anything from .us to .de to .jp. (Like I said, unscientific.)


Question 2: Please rank the following top-level domains in order of preference for your own Web site.

Again, no surprises. The only deviation from the diagonal line was .[any country] outranked .name.


Question 3: For each top-level domain name, please enter your initial thoughts on what they represent.

This was an open-ended question, so I’ll just share some of the results with you:


  • business
  • established/well-established
  • standard
  • official
  • commercial


  • charity
  • non-profit organization
  • trustworthy, non profit
  • not a business [interesting]
  • government [?!?]


  • internet related
  • a business
  • tech
  • 2nd rate site
  • second choice/first was taken


  • business
  • business selling online
  • rip off
  • not familiar with web at all. amateur [ouch!]
  • could not get .com
  • something new/entrepreneurial


  • info business/info/informational
  • garbage
  • last resort
  • people actually buy these?


  • personal
  • loosers [sp]
  • if own name, classy
  • non-business
  • amateurish
  • never heard it/never seen it

.[any country]

  • foreign .com or .org
  • only .tv is cool [how did I forget .tv?!?]
  • depends on country
  • generally ok, but hard for people in US to remember: we think .com and that’s it.

And that’s it for me. Hope you found this helpful.

If you have a .biz or some other top-level domain, take heart. We were never able to get and we survived. In fact, when .biz came up we snagged and it’s treated us well. We get lots of incoming links, have a PageRank of 7 (not that it matters), a[n over] busy production calendar and a full pipeline.

In other words, you can overcome a less-desirable top-level domain with results.