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Survival Guide to Domain Names

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From the time when the Internet was invented until today, with all different technologies developed in the mean time, domain names and DNS remained strictly structured and fairly easy to understand, which is amazing since everything else changed so much. It is true that sometimes an average user doesn’t even want to know what holds a website together because it looks too complicated. But, in the domain name industry a complicated part actually comes with human minds and things like commercial purposes, marketing tricks, different evaluations etc. Here is what you should be aware of when thinking about domain name registration.

The Basics: Know the basics

“Every computer on the Internet has a unique address called its “IP address” (Internet Protocol address). Since, IP addresses (strings of numbers) are hard to remember, the DNS (domain name system) allows a familiar string of letters (the “domain name”) to be used instead. So, rather than typing “192.0.34.163,” you can type www.icann.org. The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users find their way around the Internet.”

Survival First Aid: Understanding domains

The organization that coordinates all of these unique identifiers across the world is called ICANN. They are in charge of delegation of Top-Level Domain names (TLDs). Some TLDs are delegated to companies or organizations (generic top-level domains or gTLDs,), and some to countries and regions (country code top-level domains or ccTLDs).  In general, .com stands for the company, .org is for the organization, .us is for the USA, .uk is for the United Kingdom, .ru is for Russia, and .me is for Montenegro.

Beyond the Basics: Types of domains (TLDs) and their real meaning

Although ICANN decided to assign a purpose to every TLD in the world, the domain history has shown that TLDs sometimes have a life of their own. What happens is that users decide what they want to do with a particular TLD. Take a .com for example – for a long time it was (and it might still be), unofficial domain of the USA, although the US has its own country code top-level domain.

.COM was intended to be used for a commercial purposes only. However, you’ll find many more uses for .com as well as for .org and .net. Somehow, along all these years the usage of top-level domains made them lost their original purpose. Some TLDs faded away, some gained unexpected popularity. Contrary to the original concept, some ccTLDs gained more global appeal than certain gTLDs. When you think about .travel, and the purpose it was supposed to have, a various usage in the tourism industry is first what comes to mind. Many would say “what a great idea!” Well, it failed, especially when you compare it to the success of the .de or .uk.

This brings us to the point where it seems that actually the combination of meaning and length might affect the popularity. Therefore, it is understandable that due to the multiple meanings certain ccTLDs like .me, .tv, .fm exceeded their country borders. After all, what is a better choice for a radio channel than .fm or .am, and what is more personal for a blog than .me?

New TLDs, or how to choose wisely?

Recently ICANN has accepted a new policy that allows virtually anyone to start a TLD. If we have over 200 TLDs, will this decision result in a better organization or will it create chaos? Will we need a different system to decipher DNS? And ultimately, what will an end costumer need to know about new TLDs? Not much! You do not need to study marketing to realize that being memorable is the most important thing in the business world of today. It is same with domains  – you need to “feel” a domain name, to hear its jingle. Who wants a name that is difficult to pronounce or spell, like ThisIsMyCompanyNameAndThisIsWhatIDo .com?

Believe it or not, domain extensions are an important category of not only the Internet infrastructure but also advertising, and they are part of the string where you need to fit in. Everything before the extension whether it is, your name, your company name or a cool marketing message reflects your personality. But remember, the content behind a name is how you present yourself, and it is the most important aspect of the web presence for your users loyalty. “CrazyD.me” may get you some traffic, but if there is nothing else valuable behind the appealing URL, nobody will return to your website ever again.

So, when choosing a domain name, get one that fits your business or personal model best but keep in mind two things – make it short and cool.

The .Me Registry operates the .ME domain name which is available for worldwide registration and also offers special, highly valuable premium names through its development program (see details here). .ME Registry (the d.b.a. of doMEn, d.o.o.) was chosen by the government of Montenegro to operate the new .ME domain name extension. ME Registry partners include ME-net, GoDaddy.com and Afilias Limited.

 

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld.com. She has been a freelance writer and blogger for over a decade, writing for About.com, iVillage and b5media. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni.


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  • Anonymous

    A few examples will illustrate the principle of using different TLDs to come up with memorable  names.

     Of course, nearly everyone has seen the del.icio.us icon on sites they have visited. Go.to provides a redirection service for, lets say, maintaining a short url which redirects to a domain with a very long url. Art.sy provides a marketplace for art work, bit.ly lets you lets you substitute a programmically generated short url for a longer one, or for one you would like to disguise, and blip.tv is a video sharing site.

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  • Survival Guide

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