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By Prakhar Bindal
When it comes to the popularity of domain names, .com is king, followed by .in, .net and .org. Small businesses in India overwhelmingly prefer .com over any other domain extension, and it’s not without reason. Given that .com has been around for over 30 years, it has almost become synonymous with the Internet. People tend to type in .com as the domain extension by default.
So, while there has been a slew of new domain names being launched, none can match the recall that .com commands. In India, I estimate that it will take at least five years before the general Indian public opens up to the idea of eCommerce websites on new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Given this, we strongly recommend that start-ups buy the .com for their brand on day one itself; rather than launching on .in (or any other available domain), and then planning to move to a .com sometime in the future.
Here are a few tips to acquire the right .com domain name that delivers maximum value for business:
Tap the secondary market
If the domain you want appears to be taken or is not available, that does not mean that you can’t get it. You should hire a domain name broker and try to get a price quote on the name. Remember that a good domain name is a lifetime asset and should be considered an important investment in your startup even when you have limited budgets.
If the exact domain name that you’re looking for isn’t available, it makes sense to put on your thinking hat and come up with other creative options as well. Would it make sense to combine two words? Perhaps look for a word in Hindi or other regional language if relevant? Naukri.com and Shaadi.com great examples of companies that went on to become big brands on the back of category killer domain names. Imagine if they were instead called JobSite.com or IndiaMarriagePortal.com? I wonder if they would have created as big an impact. PolicyBazaar.com is another great example because it consists of an English word added to a Hindi word to create a catchy brand name. If you are willing to put in the effort to come up with some innovative combinations that make sense for your brand, most such combinations are easily available in the .com extension for less than ₹ 500.
Before buying a new domain, make sure you check for trademarks. If you find that the domain name closely resembles an existing brand, it’s best to avoid it.
In the long term, getting a .com domain name is absolutely worth it, even if you need to work harder or spend more money to get the domain name of your choice. With a little initiative and creativity, it’s not difficult to find the ideal .com domain that delivers maximum value for your business.
The author, Prakhar Bindal is CEO and Chief Domain Broker of NameKart.